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Governors frown at naira scarcity

The state chief executives are angry that transporters, traders, and other businesses are refusing to accept the notes. THE NATION reports.Information Guide Nigeria
This is in contravention of the March 4 Supreme Court judgment ordering that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes would remain legal tender until December 31 and co-exist with the new ones.

Some of the banks that have been issuing the old notes refuse to accept them, insisting that customers go through the strenuous process stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the old notes to be banked.

The plaintiff-states are preparing to initiate contempt proceedings against the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and CBN governor Godwin Emefiele at the Supreme Court.

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But it was learned on Sunday that the CBN may soon speak on the issue.

A senior official, who pleaded not to be named because he was not authorised to speak, said the bank will have some information for Nigerians between today and next week after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

The official said the CBN was aware of the suffering as a result of the currency crisis.

“The CBN will soon speak on the development. We are aware of what Nigerians are going through.”

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) described the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN to comply with the Supreme Court judgment as an invitation to a crisis.

It also noted that the much-touted benefits of the naira redesign could not justify the pains Nigerians were passing through due to its poor implementation.

“President Buhari is under oath to defend the constitution of Nigeria.

“As his long-term supporters, it will be remiss of us if we fail to warn that the much-touted benefits of the Naira redesign can never justify the damage to his credentials,” the forum said in a statement by its Secretary-General, Murtala Aliyu.NYSC Portal

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The ACF added that “10 days is long enough time for the government to find a way towards complying with a court order which import is central to the achievement of peace, order and good governance in the country”.

Pointing out that the policy has led to “runaway inflation, huge crowds, long queues in banks, and pockets of riots in some states”, it said the “current approach of the CBN” has made some governors believe that “naira-confiscation” could set off a crippling depression.

“This is quite apart from the real possibility of the crisis morphing into a serious social disorder leading to the possible breakdown of law and order throughout Nigeria.

“We do not believe nor can we advise him to pay such a heavy price on account of a policy whose immediate goals are not entirely clear to a majority of Nigerians,” the ACF added.

Also yesterday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) asked the CBN and banks to make naira notes available to Nigerians.

NLC Head of Information, Benson Upah, said: “A conscious effort should be made to make naira available to the ordinary Nigerians.

“That duty resides with the CBN and the banks.”

TUC Secretary General, Comrade Nuhu Toro, also urged the Federal Government to make naira notes available to reduce the hardship being experienced by Nigerians.

Many governors said there would be consequences for rejecting the old notes.

Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said the rejection of old notes amounted to a contravention of the law.

Ikpeazu, in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem, warned that any individual, bank or business concern that rejects the old currency risked sanctions.

The statement reads: “Further to the Supreme Court ruling extending the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes as legal tender till December 31st 2023, Abia State Government advises Abians and residents in the state to feel free to carry out their financial transactions with the old naira notes alongside with the new notes as stipulated.

“Any individual, group or business entity that rejects the old notes will be contravening the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and stand the risk of facing sanctions.”

Some business owners who accept old notes in the state sell at more than 20 percent above the normal costs of items.

For instance, bread sellers sell a loaf for N1,000 to a buyer with a new note but N1,200 if it is an old note.

Ikpeazu’s counterpart in Osun, Ademola Adeleke, requested the state’s CBN director to direct the banks to halt “the practice of paying out notes to their customers and rejecting same from depositors”.JAMB Result

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Essien, Goodnews is a gruaduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo; Currently working at Infoguide Media as a news writer.

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