The Central Bank of Nigeria on Saturday denied that its governor, Godwin Emefiele, has been making his official travels in private chartered flights.
Although its spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, said that was the practice for several years in the past, it was stopped by the bank since the 1990s.
According to Mr. Okorafor, private and official chartered flights was used then “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, he pointed out, was in place when Charles Soludo and Lamido Sanusi were in office as CBN Governors to meet urgent national assignments, adding that it was stopped long before Mr. Emefiele came into office.
To meet these urgent assignments, including currency movement, Mr. Okorafor said the CBN had to acquire a dedicated jet in the 1990s in recognition of the critical need for it to have smooth operations.
He, however, said the jet was taken over by the military administration when there was a more urgent need for it then at the State House.
Since then, the CBN spokesperson said the bank had occasionally paid for the chartered services of private operators and those of the Presidential Fleet when available.
In 2015, Mr. Okorafor said following the country’s economic downturn and the cost-cutting stance of present administration, the CBN governor had 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. Okorafor explained.
“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,” he added.
Besides, he said neither Mr. Emefiele, members of his immediate family, nor other principal officers of the Bank used a private jet during the burial of the CBN governor’s mother.
Rather, the bank insisted the CBN governor and his family used the services of a commercial airline, Arik from Lagos to Benin City for his mother’s burial.
There were reports had that both Mr. Emefiele and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, used the services of VistaJet, a Canadian private jets company that the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, regularly patronized while in office.
Both men were said to have used the services of the private chartered flight for the burial of Mr. Emefiele’s mother.
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