Timeline Of Emefiele’s Tenure As CBN Governor

Catch up on the embattled CBN governor's career to date with this timeline of events.

A photo combination of Godwin Emefiele at different times during his tenure as CBN governor


Within 18 hours, Godwin Emefiele went from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor to suspended and, as of Saturday afternoon, apprehended by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Catch up on the embattled CBN governor’s career from his appointment to date with this timeline of events:

Godwin Emefiele

February 20, 2014: President Goodluck Jonathan nominates the Zenith Bank MD/CEO, Godwin Emefiele, as CBN governor, following the suspension of Sanusi Lamido from the same role, on allegations of financial recklessness.

March 26, 2014: After an almost two-hour screening, the Senate confirms Mr Godwin Emefiele as the CBN governor-designate for a five-year term.

June 3, 2014: Godwin Emefiele assumes office as CBN governor. He takes over from Dr Sarah Alade who has held the role in an acting capacity for three months.

Sarah Alade


January 11, 2016: Emefiele stops the sale of foreign exchange to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, saying they would now be left with the option of getting foreign exchange from autonomous sources.

September 29, 2016: His wife, Mrs Margaret Emefiele, is kidnapped at the Edo State end of the Agbor-Benin expressway, alongside two of her relatives and her driver. The kidnappers demand N100 million ransom.

October 1, 2016: The police arrest two suspects over their alleged link with Mrs Emefiele’s kidnap. The suspects are smashed at 1.30 am after police comb the forest around Agbor.

March 5, 2019: Amid speculation of plans to remove him, Emefiele says, “I am confused and concerned about some stories going around. At least you can see me; I am doing my work; my tenure expires in June.”

May 9, 2019: President Muhammadu Buhari nominates Emefiele for a second term. The letter for his tenure elongation is sent to the Senate and read during plenary.

A file photo of Mr Godwin Emefiele and former President Muhammadu Buhari


May 15, 2019: The Senate commences the screening of Emefiele for a second term.

May 16, 2019: The Senate confirms Emefiele as CBN governor for a second term of five years.

March 27, 2020: The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe, reveals CBN has granted a two-week market holiday to BDC operators, in light of the ongoing challenges occasioned by COVID-19.

June 2, 2020: Amid COVID restrictions, CBN directs banks to resolve all backlog issues relating to failed ATMs, point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and other electronic banking transactions within two weeks, starting June 8, 2020.

July 12, 2020: Following the handover of the National Arts Theatre to the CBN Bankers’ Committee, Emefiele assures the public go through a transformation into a world-class facility.

This picture taken on July 12, 2020, shows the exterior of the National Arts Theatre in the Iganmu area of Lagos State, south-west Nigeria.


August 25, 2020: Emefiele directs all banks to submit the names, addresses and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of exporters that have defaulted in repatriating their export proceeds, for further action. This is geared towards increasing foreign exchange liquidity in the country.

February 5, 2021: The CBN tells Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to desist from transacting cryptocurrencies and dealing with entities who do so. The apex bank says cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used to conduct ” many illegal activities including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion.”

April 29, 2021: Emefiele announces new appointments in First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and reinstates its Managing Director, Sola Adeduntan. This comes after the central bank queries Adeduntan’s removal by the bank’s board and replacement with Gbenga Shobo.

May 26, 2021: Emefiele says Nigeria is expecting 12 Super Tucano fighter planes from the US as part of efforts towards fighting insecurity in the country. This comes about three years after a pact was signed between the two countries.

A file photo of a Super Tucano.
A file photo of a Super Tucano.


May 26, 2021: Emefiele appeals to bandits to drop their arms and embrace the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), a Federal Government initiative designed to provide loans to smallholder farmers.

June 27, 2021: Emefiele announces an end to the weekly allocation and sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators in the country, whom he said had abandoned the original objective of their establishment which was to serve retail end users who need $5,000 or less. He accuses them of facilitating graft, illicit financial flows, and money laundering in the country.

September 17, 2021: Emefiele announces a plan to shut down the operations of ‘AbokiFX’ over its posting of exchange rates. The website provided currency exchange information, which the apex bank describes as an illegal platform. Emefiele accuses AbokiFX owner Olusegun Oniwinde of sabotaging Nigeria’s economy.

October 25, 2021: Emefiele joins Buhari as the president launches the country’s digital currency, eNaira. Buhari says the adoption of the new CBN digital currency is estimated to increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years.

A file photo of former President Buhari and Emefiele unveiling the eNaira


January 26, 2022: Emefiele cautions Nigerians against seeking credit facilities from loan sharks for financial purposes, noting that government-established microfinance banks and target credit facilities could cater to the needs of the operators of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs).

February 10, 2022: Emefiele announces the RT200 FX Programme to repatriate $200bn exclusively from non-oil exports over the next three to five years. He said it would target increased exports, value addition and improved foreign exchange for the government.

February 10, 2022: Emefiele reveals that it would stop the sale of foreign exchange to banks by the end of the year, saying they must begin to source their forex from export proceeds.

April 7, 2022: The CBN fines four banks for allegedly flouting its directive on cryptocurrency transactions to the tune of N814.3 million.

May 6, 2022: Emefiele reportedly picks up the expression of interest and nomination forms of the APC for the 2023 presidential election. A group of supporters purchased the form for him at N100 million.

The scene at the APC presidential primary election held in Abuja on Tuesday, June 7, 2022


May 6, 2022: Hours after the purchase of Emefiele’s form, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State asks the CBN governor to resign, arguing he cannot combine his work with partisan politics. 

May 7, 2022: Emefiele, says he has not made a decision on running for the presidency, hours after a group purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination form for him.

May 10, 2022: The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOS) call for Emefiele’s sack, alleging that the CBN governor became a card-carrying member of the party in 2019.

May 11, 2022: Former CBN Deputy Governor Kingsley Moghalu says declaring for president as a governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will erode investors’ confidence in the apex bank.

Kingsley Moghalu


May 30, 2022: Emefiele’s name is among several missing from the APC presidential aspirants’ screening list as the party commences the vetting of those seeking to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 general elections.

June 4, 2022: The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, says sensitive electoral materials will in the meantime no longer be routed through the CBN. According to him, this decision is to guarantee that the materials are not compromised.

July 18, 2022: Ahead of the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls, INEC states plans to engage with the CBN over the storage of election materials, saying it is in for a logistics nightmare without a form of parley with the CBN over its election materials storage issues.

August 26, 2022: In an apparent move to check a brewing crisis in the aviation sector, the CBN releases $265 million of trapped funds to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales.


October 20, 2022: Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja summons Emefiele over a $53 million judgement debt arising from the Paris Club refund, following an application for garnishee made by a senior advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi, who is the judgement creditor.

October 26, 2022: Emefiele says the CBN will redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes by December 15, 2022 and phase out the old versions by January 31, 2023. He says this is to help address some of the nation’s security threats, especially kidnapping and terrorism.

October 28, 2022: The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, says the CBN did not consult her ministry before deciding to redesign naira notes by December.

A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
A file photograph of former Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.


October 29, 2022: The CBN replies to Ahmed, saying it followed due process in its ongoing process to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.

October 30, 2022: Buhari throws his weight behind Emefiele, noting he is fully in support of the CBN’s move to redesign the naira notes. 

November 3, 2022: Emirates Airlines suspends flight operations to Nigeria over its inability to repatriate blocked funds, adding it has communicated its position to the Federal Government and the CBN. In August, the airline suspended flights to Nigeria over its $85 million blocked revenue.

November 16, 2022: After a heated debate, the Senate resolves to provide legislative support to the CBN for the redesign of the N1,000, N500 and N200 naira notes.

November 23, 2022: Buhari unveils the redesigned naira notes as proposed by the CBN.

FILE: Emefiele (L) and Buhari (R) unveiled the new naira notes in late 2022


November 23, 2022: Emefiele appreciates Buhari for his insistence that the banknotes be designed and produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc.

December 6, 2022: CBN pegs maximum daily withdrawals via ATMs and terminals at N20,000. Moreover, weekly over-the-counter (OTC) cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities must not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.

December 14, 2022: The Senate asks the CBN to considerably adjust its recently announced cash withdrawal limits in response to the public outcry against the new policy.

December 20, 2022: The World Bank expresses concern over the economic impact of the recent naira redesign on Nigerian households and businesses.

A file photo of new naira notes


December 20, 2022: The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, declines an application by the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and detain Emefiele.

December 20, 2022: The Chairman, Section of Public Interest and Development (SPIDEL) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Uban, describes the DSS’ attempt to arrest Emefiele as “fraudulent”.

December 21, 2022: The CBN bows to pressure, reviewing the weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 and N5 million cash for individuals and corporate entities, respectively.

December 22, 2022: The CBN says the new cash withdrawal limits policy was approved without political consideration, saying the new policy will limit costs associated with processing and moving cash as well as address terrorism financing.

December 28, 2022: The Senate urges the CBN to extend its deadline for the phasing out of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes from January 31 to June 30, 2023.

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate


December 29, 2022: Justice Maryam Hassan of the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja quashes the move by the DSS to charge Emefiele with terrorism and economic crimes of national security.

January 15, 2023: Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, says the CBN governor has not returned to the country.

January 16, 2023: The Department of State Services (DSS) responds to reports of an invasion of the office of the CBN, saying it made no attempts to arrest Emefiele.

January 18, 2023: Emefiele summoned by the Federal High Court, Abuja over a $53 million judgement debt arising from the Paris Club refund is adjourned till March 20.

January 19, 2023: Emefiele files an appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja compelling him to appear in a $53 million judgement debt suit.

January 24, 2023: The House of Representatives asks the CBN to extend the deadline for the expiration of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes by six months.


January 24, 2023: The CBN says its January 31, 2023 deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes remains.

January 24, 2023: The National Assembly asks the CBN to extend the deadline for the expiration of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes by six months.

January 25, 2023: Tinubu says attempts by unnamed persons to sabotage his chances will not stop his victory in the presidential election, arguing that the fuel scarcity and naira redesign would not dissuade his supporters from voting him in.

January 29, 2023: The CBN extends its deadline for the use of the old notes till February 10.

January 31, 2023: Clarifying Emefiele’s position that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 will be accepted until the new deadline, the CBN says the old notes will cease to be legal tender afterwards.

A file photo showing the CBN headquarters in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.


February 2, 2023: Emefiele directs deposit money banks to commence the payment of the redesigned Naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000. 

February 3, 2023: The governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states drag the Federal Government before the Supreme Court, seeking a restraining order to stop the full implementation of the naira redesign policy.

February 5, 2023: The Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila says the lawmakers may have to suspend their break for the elections and reconvene if the hardship occasioned by the naira swap continues. 

February 5, 2023: Adams Oshiomhole accuses the CBN of deceiving Buhari in light of the redesign of the naira notes, adding that the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele “knows better”.

FILE PHOTO: Adams Oshiomhole on Politics Today on Thursday, March 2, 2023.


February 6, 2023: Justice Eneojo Eneche of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court stops the CBN, Buhari and 27 commercial banks from suspending or interfering with the currency redesign terminal date of February 10.

February 7, 2023: Accompanied by 11 National Commissioners, the INEC chairman meets with Emefiele over the apex bank’s unique role in the conduct of elections with a particular focus on the recent cash withdrawal policy of the CBN.

February 8, 2023: Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states obtain a Supreme Court judgement restraining the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline on old notes.

February 8, 2023: With 16 days to the conduct of the general elections, INEC affirms that the challenges of petrol scarcity and currency shortage have been resolved.

INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu and suspended CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Credit: Friday Okeregbe/Channels TV


February 9, 2023: The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, asks the apex court to dismiss the suit filed by the three state governments challenging the naira redesign policy.

February 10, 2023: The Council of State advises Buhari to direct the CBN to print more redesigned naira notes or allow the new and old banknotes to circulate concurrently to ease the tension caused by the scarcity of cash.

February 11, 2023: The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) criticises the naira redesign as “yet another anti-poor policy,” saying the Supreme Court ruling should mitigate the suffering of Nigerians occasioned.

February 17, 2023: Buhari insists that the naira redesign policy has short- and long-term benefits for the country in dealing with insecurity and corruption, but agrees that the apex bank should take the recommendation of a parliamentary Committee to rectify identified problems.

February 19, 2023: The APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) call for compliance with the Supreme Court order on the controversial naira swap policy.

A file photo of the Supreme Court entrance


March 3, 2023: The Supreme Court orders that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes remain in circulation till December 31, 2023.

March 13, 2023: The Presidency says the CBN has no reason not to comply with the Supreme Court order on naira redesign on the excuse of waiting for directives from Buhari.

March 13, 2023: Finally, the CBN says the old banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.

March 13, 2023: The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) gives the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to address the currency crunch and fuel scarcity in parts of the country or risk a nationwide industrial action at the expiration of the ultimatum.

A file photo of an NLC protest


March 24, 2023: The CBN directs all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays, as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.

March 28, 2023: The NLC and the TUC suspend their planned strike.

May 29, 2023: Emefiele attends Tinubu’s inauguration at Eagle Square, Abuja.

June 9, 2023: Tinubu suspends Emefiele as the CBN governor and appoints Deputy Governor Operations Directorate, Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi.

Folashodun Shonubi


June 10, 2023: The DSS refutes reports that Emefiele is in its custody. Amid reports of the arrest widely shared online, spokesman Peter Afunanya says, “Currently, Emefiele is not with the DSS.”

June 10, 2023: The DSS finally confirms Emefiele is in its custody.

June 10, 2023: A video shared online shows the DSS taking the suspended CBN governor into custody.

DSS arrests Godwin Emefiele in a video shared online on Saturday, June 10, 2023