The United Kingdom’s House of Lords, on Wednesday, called on Britain and indeed the international community to rally round Nigeria to pro- tect the independence of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other institutions in the country.
The call by the second chamber of the British parliament followed the insistence of members of the House of Representatives that the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, should appear before the lower chamber of the National Assembly over the new cash withdrawal limit announced by the apex bank after redesigning of the national currency, Naira.
The CBN governor is also entangled in a row over moves by the Department of the State Service (DSS) to arrest him, but which has been stopped by a court of compe- tent jurisdiction.
Expressing concern on the demand by the House of Representatives, a member of the House of the Lord, Daniel Hannan, said there was an attempt to a ‘detain’ Emefiele in the parliament, in a flagrant infringement on the independence of the CBN as an institution.
Lord Hannan of Kingsclere is a member of the Board of Trade and Conservative peer in the British parliament.
He said the rest of the world should not fold arms in the face of threats to such institution and democracy, since Nigeria is “Africa’s greatest economy, greatest population and greatest hope.”
He said the independence of the institutions and rule of law should be sacrosanct as such values bind the Commonwealth of Nations, which Nigeria is a prominent mem- ber as a former British colony.
He noted that though he is not a Nigerian and that it was not for him to dictate to Nigeria when to redesign the naira, it was imperative for friends of democracy in Nige- ria to defend the rule of law.
Part of his speech at the British parliament read: “The rule of law, due process and the independence of public officials: these values mat- ter. They bind us together as Commonwealth nations.
“I am not a Nigerian. It is not for me to say whether it was time for a redesign of naira notes, or whether such a change will make elections cleaner.
“But I do feel that friends of Nigeria, and friends of Nigerian democracy should defend the rule of law there…
“And that is why I hope that democrats on all sides will join Nigeria in supporting the independence of its institutions in the run-up to the 2023 election including, of course, the central bank.”