Unmasking the Web of Economic Crime: Can Tinubu Halt the Nation’s Plunge?

By Odilim Enwegbara

Why Nigeria is impoverished is not because it lacks what it takes to rival the newly emerged world
economic leaders like China. It is due to the fact that, as high as 95% of its commonwealth, is in the
hands of thieves who consistently portray themselves as billionaire businesspeople. If it’s not oil
bunkering, it’s stealing crude oil directly from the nation’s oil pipelines, done in connivance with their
foreign counterparts.

Another set of ferocious criminal groups is found in our so-called banking and financial industry. As
Ponzi Scheme operators, they consistently prey on unsuspecting customers and the government.
Because they produce nothing and add no value to the economy, another set of criminals are our socalled industrialists and manufacturers who import substandard finished goods from China.

As if that’s not enough, another group known as telecom service providers has been conniving with the
NCC to extort trillions of naira from Nigerians through price fixing. All have come with their mindblowing forex theft using forex round-tripping. No government has turned these abuses into a full
business in Nigeria more than Buhari, thanks to Emefiele as the governor, who could easily work in full
promotion of all the groups’ nefarious interests.

I have been monitoring all the chief bankers of Nigeria since 2005, starting with Soludo. A quick review
of how Soludo ran the CBN from 2004 to 2009 is crucial to fully give us a clear picture of where he came
from and how he managed the apex bank as though an academic institution with textbook theories
dressed up within the fanciful precincts of mathematical equations. Agreeing with his idealized
neoliberal monetarist specifications and lax banking regulations, bankers became ‘banksters,’ engaging
in illegal margin lending, leaving millions of unsuspecting Nigerian investors as victims, with N2.5
trillion ending up in bankers’ pockets.

While the banking and financial sector was literally on fire, Soludo shocked the entire world when he
announced in 2008 his bizarre naira redenomination policy — a year before the end of his tenure. As
bizarre as making N125 to a dollar become N1.25 to a dollar, Soludo saw himself above the law of the
land. But rather than patriotism, it was the $40bn he hoped to spend printing a new set of naira notes
that drove him. Saving the country from another Soludo’s wild project, not only did President Yar’Adua
call him to order, but he quickly canceled this mind-boggling project and refused to grant him a second

Clearing up the five years of mess created by Soludo, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had to inject a whopping
N620bn of taxpayers’ money, bailing out the banks now mostly in a coma. Also, AMCON had to spend
close to N4tn of taxpayers’ money purchasing banks’ non-performing loans and the entire financial
sector’s toxic assets, mostly resulting from the Soludo-led Ponzi scheme. Because Soludo walked away
from all the mess caused by his neoliberal textbook central banking, he seems to be enjoying his freedom
of free speech, including turning facts upside-down, especially now as the governor of one of the states in
Nigeria, including turning facts upside-down.

Governor Sanusi was doing well until he started seeing himself as someone running a republic within the
Nigerian republic and openly confronting Jonathan. He forgot that Jonathan was both the president of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the head of state, making everyone constitutionally under him.
Little wonder, I supported his being fired as the chief banker of Nigeria by President Jonathan.

On June 4, 2014, Nigeria ushered in Emefiele as the country’s first politician’s and big businesses’ ATM
chief banker. I opposed his appointment to the point I wrote the then senate president not to screen him,
let alone confirm him. But because elections were around the corner, senators preferred to ignore my
pleas and confirmed him. From then on, for nine years, Godwin Emefiele became a monarchical
absolutist and philistinist. Thanks to the 2007 CBN Act that gave him those powers, he mismanaged the
country’s apex bank with reckless abandon.

This once Ajegunle ghetto boy wanted to become president too. Not even a national outcry and fierce
international opposition to his political ambition could stop him. With his kind of deep pocket, who could
have stopped Nigeria’s self-crowned lord of money? Who else did Godwin Emefiele’s nine-year kind of
lording it over Nigerians remind us of apart from Mayer Amschel Rothschild? As the private owner of
Britain’s money supply, he had this to say: “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I
care not who makes its laws… [Because] I control the British money supply [so I] control the British
Empire and care not about who makes its law.”

He had become difficult to control to the point that whenever he sneezed, they all quickly would catch a
cold. Emefiele could go ahead to raise interest rates for his banker friends, and no one raised any
opposition. And Emefiele could go as far as engaging in monetary policy tightening to the point of
causing economic financialization that starved small businesses of access to credits, but everyone
(including the media) had to keep quiet. He created direct lending known as an Anchor Borrowers
Programme where politicians and private sector friends were given loans without having to bother
themselves with paying back; after all, there was no collateral for accessing the funds.
While all his financial atrocities caused the country to bleed, he went ahead cooking the books. This not
only earned him Nigeria’s financial czar but also collected the highest bidder prepaid awards from
financial centers around the world.

But there was no worse place better littered with incredible fraud than his management of the country’s
foreign currency accounts and forex. Friends were handed billions of dollars simply by allocating to them
a dollar at official rates, which they would easily sell in the parallel markets at times making as high as
50%, without having to put in their own naira. Emefiele could, without seeking the board’s approval,
give anyone any amount of dollars to sell in the black market. For more information on forex fraud, I
invite you to read my articles “The shocking forex fraud taking place at CBN” published on December
10, 2017.

I went as far as warning Emefiele in many articles and television discussions that what he was doing was
criminal and should be stopped, given how the forex bazaar was destroying the country’s economy. One
of those warnings came in an article titled, “Why CBN shouldn’t give Dangote forex.”

But excessive greed not only blindfolded him but also blocked his application of caution that his
recklessness was leading to criminality. I remember vividly in February 2016 when I was invited to the
Villa to meet Chief of Staff to President Mr. Abba Kyari and who, while with me, Emefiele called,
requesting over the phone his approval for forex to Dangote. I was so speechless listening to Emefiele
requesting from mere COS to grant him forex approval when no law allowed that.

When the furious Kyari who put the call on speaker sought my advice, I reminded him that no section of
the 2007 CBN Act or the prevailing extant financial rules and regulations gave the president, let alone himself, such power? Not convinced that he knew the gravity of the crime being committed, I reminded
him about the memo I wrote to the president even before being sworn-in and why that memo should be
reviewed by him before further forex dealings with the governor. To ensure that no mistake was made by
the COS, I went ahead to put part of it in the public domain in an article titled: Sack incompetent CBN
governor; Reform CBN and the banking and financial sector” published on March 14, 2023, a few days
after my February meeting with him.

As if using his cronies to divert God knows how much billions of dollars, in an effort to hide trillions of
naira illegally removed from the CBN vaults, he rushed to set up an illegal digital currency policy which
he used to create enaira.com used in virtually leaving no traces of the trillions of naira hidden and
enaira@gov.ng deceptively created to subject unsuspecting Nigerians to such an endless fight with the
bank and fintech exploitation. Also, AfriGo, which never saw the light of the day, was originally carefully
planned as an instrument of evading nefarious financial fraud being tracked internationally since Visa
and Master-card could easily expose them.

These are in addition to trillions of naira notes allegedly diverted and hidden around the country,
including in caves, shallow waters, uncompleted buildings, etc. Their ultimate goal of grounding the
economy and rendering every repair effort difficult is why the Tinubu administration is now determined
to fight back and bring back the stolen money. Like Machiavelli, Tinubu, who is a master player of the
political soft power cards, took his time to hire one of the country’s foremost financial crime investors,
Mr. Jim Obazee. Between August and December 2023, the investigator, who in one of my television
interviews, I alerted that what he would discover would make us weep. Like as I earlier stated that the
CBN is the country’s crime scene, his investigation proved me right to the point he marked the office of
the former governor as a crime scene which no one could enter.

During these months, Tinubu carefully made sure that Emefiele was abandoned by his co-conspirators
so that finding himself in such a position he would tell the truth by roping in the big fish, the country’s
so-called billionaires, who according to Hon Chuma Nzeribe “expose the ‘menu list’ of Nigeria’s scam
artists masquerading as billionaires…manufacturing nothing, providing no jobs for our youths [but] depending on the continuous heist of the public treasury…!” And who in Miebaka Adoki’s words are
“…criminals and deserving long periods of incarceration.” The Obazee Report has led to the president
now riding on the back of the tiger. He needs our collective support in this fight so that fighting these
seasoned criminals he doesn’t end up in the tiger’s belly. Over 81 big businesses and their owners have
been indicted, and the now freely collaborating Emefiele is giving more information with documents to
back it up. He knows that at the end of the day he will eventually end up in the country’s Kuje Prison
but because he doesn’t want to be the only one, Emefiele is talking, in fact, like a parrot.

With this development, the big boys have conspired to blackmail Jim Obazee in an effort to rubbish his
report. It is why I have decided to speak out so that these criminals cannot be allowed to have their way.
But to fight these criminals, I have met the brick wall given the media that has always been on their
payroll. Believing in my invitation to speak about the Obazee Report, I was at the African Independent
Television today (January 8, 2024) to discuss it, only to be kind of ambushed when the television station
without letting me know changed the topic to the story of one of the president’s ministers who oversees
the humanitarian affairs. Shocked, I wonder why the sudden change, without alerting me since if I knew
I wouldn’t have bothered myself.

I am fighting on the side of the president because it would be disastrous to allow these criminals to use
their co-opted media in fighting back the president. As a firm believer in Deng’s leadership philosophy of
“It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white so long as it catches mice, it is a good cat,” in this fight, I
believe that Mr. Tinubu is catching the mice, so he deserves our support. I also believe that in order to
not end up in the tiger’s belly, Mr. President should waste no time in reforming the country’s highest
bidder judiciary so that these criminals could not defeat him using the judiciary.

Unless he quickly reforms the judicial system, the currently rotten judiciary where justices could employ
technicalities with the help of the criminals’ attorneys to ensure that justice is denied by delaying justice.
The president must merge the country’s anti-financial crimes and anticorruption agencies EFCC and
ICPC and empower them to go after corrupt justices.

To ensure that another Emefiele does not come in future as the chief banker of the country, I am
suggesting that the 2007 CBN Act be repealed in a way that also unbundles the apex bank. The
unbundled apex bank should be responsible only for monetary policy that targets pro-growth, proinvestment, and jobs interest rates and inflation rates.

There is also the need to create the Nigerian Banking Regulatory Commission which being regionally
located as independent banking regulators operating in the six political regions as it is the case in the
U.S. where 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks operate as independent regulators. Let the Nigerian
security printing and minting company become domiciled within the Treasury house with currency
signing be the Finance Minister and the Treasurer by law.

Enwegbara writes from Abuja, Nigeria


Tunde Alade

Tunde is a political Enthusiast who loves using technology to impact his immediate community by providing accurate data and news items for the good of the country.

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