A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Chukwuma Soludo, hit back Saturday after a senior Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, accused him of unlawfully “doling” $7 billion of Nigeria’s reserves to banks as loan.
Mr. Falana said the amount was never recovered.
The former CBN chief dismissed the allegation as “ignorant” and “blatant lies”, and demanded evidence or an apology.
“I largely ignore such ignorant commentaries,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Mr. Falana had urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate alleged “criminal diversion or withholding” of government funds by the CBN, under Mr. Soludo and his successor, Lamido Sanusi.
The lawyer said Mr. Sanusi, who is the Emir of Kano now, gave another unrecovered N600 billion as bailout to the same banks.
He also accused Mr. Sanusi of illegally paying N2.5 trillion instead of N245 billion to fuel marketers as subsidy. Mr. Sanusi denied the allegation and said he was ready to face investigations.
Mr. Soludo, who left the CBN in 2009, said throughout my tenure, Nigeria never lost one penny of the reserves.