Charles Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Saturday said he ignores ignorant commentaries and was shocked that Femi Falana could fabricate and peddle blatant lies.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had accused him of unlawfully “doling” out $7 billion of Nigeria’s reserves to banks as loan which was never recovered.
Falana also accused Soludo’s successor, now the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi of “criminal diversion or withholding” of government funds and urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the two former CBN governors.
But Soludo in his reply in a statement on Saturday dismissed the allegation and demanded for evidence or an apology.
Part of the statement read, “I largely ignore such ignorant commentaries. However, Femi Falana is one of the Nigerians I deeply respect, and I am sure many Nigerians also hold him in very high esteem. I was therefore shocked beyond belief that someone like him could fabricate and peddle blatant lies.
“Falana alleged that I ‘removed’ $7 billion from Nigeria’s external reserves and gave same as a ‘loan’ to 14 Nigerian banks in 2006, and apparently such a ‘loan’ has not been recovered. This is a blatant lie and I challenge Falana to publish the details of such a ‘loan’ which remains unpaid or as a person with honour, publish a retraction and unreserved apology immediately.
“On assumption of office, I met exactly $10 billion in foreign reserves. With average monthly oil price of $59 during my tenure, we accumulated reserves to all time high of over $62 billion. Even after paying off Nigeria’s external debt with $12 billion and facing unprecedented global financial and economic crisis, I still left $45 billion upon leaving office in 2009.
“Throughout my tenure, Nigeria never lost one penny of the reserves. It is particularly important to note that even during the global financial crisis of 2008/2009 when major international banks collapsed and some countries lost some of their reserves, our prudent management ensured that Nigeria never lost a penny but earned returns on the reserves.
“Given the powerful interests that I fought during the consolidation of banks and even since I left office, one can only imagine the international headlines that would have been made if just one penny of the reserves was unaccounted for.”
The former CBN governor said he was ready at any time to answer questions in response to his stewardship at the CBN.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
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