Nigeria’s naira currency has crashed and financial markets closed on news that President Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the Central Bank governor who disclosed that billions of dollars are missing from the coffers of Africa’s biggest oil producer.
Financial analysts say the naira plummeted from 163 to 169 to the U.S. dollar when Mr Jonathan’s statement became public. The Nigerian Stock Exchange stopped trading.
Analyst Bismarck Rewane said the development is “very disruptive” and warned of “a very difficult time” for the naira and the Nigerian financial market in the near-term.
Earlier on Thursday Mr Jonathan accused Central Bank governor Lamido Sanusi of “financial recklessness” and replaced him with a deputy governor Sarah Alade.
The internationally respected governor, Mr Sanusi, could not immediately be reached for comment on the president’s announcement on Thursday accusing him of “financial recklessness and misconduct.”
Last year Mr Sanusi reported that $50 billion worth of oil sold by the corruption-riddled state oil corporation had not been paid to the government. The Senate Committee on Finance last week ordered an independent forensic audit into the missing money, which it said amounted to about $20 billion. Missing receipts apparently accounted for the rest.