Saturday, 9 April 2016

CBN denies media reports of Emefiele flying private jets to meetings

Social media was awash this morning with reports claiming that the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, now flies private jets to attend meetings in and out of Nigeria. According to a statement released by the Ag. Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Isaac Okorafor today April 9th, this report is totally false. According to the statement, Emefiele and his principal staff use local flights and sometimes use the roads when going for meetings. The statement also denied claims of Emefiele and his family flying a private jet to attend his mother's funeral in Delta state recently. Read their statement after the cut.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, for several years in the past, used private and official chartered flights in making urgent travels to meet needs in remote, not-easily- accessible locations or in cases where timing might be critical to matters of urgent national importance. This practice was in place long before the assumption of office of the current Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele. In fact it is on record that the past two CBN Governors actively used chartered private jet services to meet urgent national assignments. Indeed, in recognition of this critical need in its smooth operations, the CBN had in the 1990s acquired a dedicated jet for this purpose and for urgent currency movement.

This was however taken over by the military administration when there was a more urgent need for it at the State House. Thereafter, the CBN occasionally used the chartered services of private operators and those of the Presidential Fleet when available, both of which were paid for. However in 2015, in response to the economic downturn and the cost-cutting stance of Government, Mr. Emefiele ordered the stoppage of the use of chartered flights by the Bank. Since then, neither Mr. Emefiele nor any of the Deputy Governors has used the services of private chartered flights and the CBN has not paid a kobo for private jet services. Mr Emefiele and indeed other principal officers of the CBN have religiously maintained the modest disposition of using regular flights, including doing several trips by road to and from different parts of the country. It is also important to note here that no private jet was used by Mr. Emefiele, his immediate family, or indeed other principal officers of the Bank during the burial of Mr Emefiele’s mother. FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF ANY DOUBT, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT MR. EMEFIELE AND HIS FAMILY FLEW A COMMERCIAL ARIK FLIGHT FROM LAGOS TO BENIN FOR THEIR MOTHER’S BURIAL. All accounts still point to the fact that the Emefiele’s mother’s burial was a model in cost-cutting and an uncommon demonstration of his modest, “made in Nigeria” philosophy.

Isaac Okorafor,
Ag. Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria Abuja