The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Saturday denied using private chartered flights, saying it was the target of a smear campaign by some sections of the media who are trying to tarnish the image of the CBN governor.
“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,” the bank’s Ag. Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said in a statement over the weekend.
“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. 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.
“The 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.
“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 was the one who terminated the use of private jets for local movements in the Bank even though it is a policy that has been in place since the 1990s?
– Mr. Emefiele has been steadfastly flying local commercial flights like every other Nigerian within the country? – – Many persons see him regularly in local commercial flights in and around the country?
– As Group Managing Director of one of the country’s largest banks, Mr. Emefiele had full access to private jets and should have been commended for the courage to terminate the contract as Governor of the Central Bank?
“If the publishers of the story were truly up for the truth, have they investigated the use of private jets by other currently serving senior government officials? This campaign of calumny against Mr. Emefiele by these ‘Palm wine drinkers’ would do anyone no good and has to cease immediately or else the Bank would be forced to shamefully unmask the persons and groups behind this. We have better ways to move Nigeria forward rather than targeting someone just because you do not like him.”
“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 the 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,” Okorafor said.