THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said neither the Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele nor any of his deputies uses private chartered aircraft for both private and official engagements. The apex bank was perhaps reacting to a newspaper report yesterday(not any of The Sun titles) which claimed that Mr Emefiele uses a chartered Bombardier luxury private jet with cosy interior to traverse across the country and even used same aircraft during the burial of the Governor’s mother.
Acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor in a statement yesterday said nothing of such happened.
He stated, however, that for several years in the past, CBN 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, he said, 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, he said, and 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.
He noted, however, that in 2015, and 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,he said, “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.”
Okorafor said 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, adding that, “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.”
The statement concluded: “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 Emefieles mother’s burial was a model in cost-cutting and an uncommon demonstration of his modest, “made in Nigeria” philosophy.”