(News investigators) Nigeria’s leading newspaper, Daily Trust, has replied the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the cover page story of Thursday, June 1, 2023.
The newspaper had reported how the apex bank devalued the Naira to N631 to the dollar from N461.6 it sold at the Importers and Exporters (I&E) window the previous day.
Some bank customers had told this paper that they applied and that their request was fully granted at N631 as against N461.6.
After the story went viral on social media, CBN via its Twitter handle, posted a stamp which read: “Fake News”.
The bank also issued a statement in which it cast aspersion on one of the most respected media outlets on the African continent.
“We wish to state categorically that this news report, which in the imagination of the newspaper is exclusive, is replete with outright FALSEHOODS and destabilising innuendos, reflecting potentially willful ignorance of the said medium as to the workings of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market,” the statement read.
But responding in a statement, Daily Trust said it had evidence of those who bought the dollar at the reported rate, and challenged the CBN to provide any facts to the contrary.
“In our newspaper and across our digital platforms today, we have reported that yesterday, the 31st May 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold dollars to bidders at the Importers and Exporters (I&E) window at the rate of N631 per $1.”
“The story contains three facts and one interpretation: that the CBN sold dollars to banks on behalf of their customers at the said rate on the said window yesterday; that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had spoken of his government’s resolve to unify Nigeria’s exchange rate markets; and he met with CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele on assumption of office Tuesday. All of these are facts and we stand by them.
“Only a policy change by the government through the CBN can reasonably explain the wide difference of N169.4 between the two rates in just a single day. And only the CBN has the power to do that overnight, regardless by what name it is called.
“From the foregoing, therefore, we wish to reiterate that we stand by the facts of our story. We have evidence of those who bought the dollar at the reported rate, and we challenge the CBN to provide any facts to the contrary.
“Finally, we wish to reiterate that we are not a fake news platform, as the CBN knows only too well. Some of the finest and most impactful public interest journalism in Nigeria of the past 25 years has been done by us.
“Our Editor is the current Editor of the Year in Nigerian journalism. Our reporter won the Investigative Reporter of the Year only last December. And even in just the past month, we received laurels for our distinguished and dignified journalism.
“Moreover, we have trained and exported professional talents of various kinds to leading organizations in Nigeria and beyond, including many within the CBN itself today. Above all, our fierce pursuit and reporting of the truth on behalf of the public is a fact that bears repeated testimony in words, deeds and hearts of millions of Nigerians.
“We do not know if the CBN has its own reasons for denying the story. Certainly, we cannot understand why the CBN will make such a grossly crude accusation against one of Nigeria’s most respected news platforms of the past quarter-century. But we do know that we stand by our story,” the statement read.