Scarcity of new Naira notes is a threat to National Security - HURIWA
By Ed Malik, A | January 30, 2023

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has sounded an alarm, calling the severe scarcity of newly introduced Naira notes in most banks across Nigeria as a huge threat to national security, saying it also an evidence of the manifest inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and “a pointer to why Nigeria needs an independent Governor of Central Bank and not a politically tainted and compromised leadership as we have now”.

HURIWA is of the opinion that the haste with which the redesigning project of the national currency was handled by the Governor of CBN and President Muhammadu Buhari is shrouded in politically organised witch-hunt and confusion. “How can a governor of the CBN be carrying out such a monumental financial initiative about the same time that he couldn’t move freely due to fear of arrest by the Department of State Services on allegations of suspected financing of terrorism and also, the governor is facing a court case in the USA allegedly filed by his brother in law over purported failed joint business ventures?

Then again, how is it that the CBN governor is going about this exercise as if he is targeting politicians thereby making an economic policy to become politically tainted, thereby exposing the otherwise national finance policy that was once applauded to become polluted by political infighting even amongst the ruling All Progressives Congress under whose platform this same CBN governor sought, albeit, unsuccessfully to be made the handpicked Presidential candidate of APC? Is the CBN Governor waging a political vendetta but by so doing exposing millions of Nigerian commoners to avoidable and unwarranted but excruciating hardships now encountered in their frantic search for the artificially scarce new Naira notes which are sold from the backdoor by CBN and money deposit banks to politicians for votes buying?
In a statement after members of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) observed the organised chaos and rancorous situation of lack of new Naira notes and the attendant hardships experienced by millions of commoners in some cosmopolitan cities like Aba, Abia State, Onitsha Anambra State, Lagos, Kano and Kafanchan in Kaduna State.

HURIWA expresses that the field reports across the country show a policy that at best, can be called ‘planned plan-less plan’ and, therefore calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful to check the internal saboteurs within the banking system that are hijacking the new notes from CBN and selling to politicians and rich elites.

HURIWA warned President Buhari of possibility of this poorly implemented new naira policy instigating imminent street protests because of the untold starvation that this badly implemented redesigned Naira notes initiative that is an economic nightmare for poor Nigerians is causing millions of Nigerians who can’t access the new notes and can’t use the old notes to buy foods for their survival because most food items sellers are rejecting the old notes which still have up until February 10th to become invalidated.

HURIWA recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes by 10 days after he persistently failed to listen to the clarion call for extension and for observation of best global practices in the redistribution of the new notes to stop any class of people from hijacking the notes because of the electioneering period that we are in.

CBN governor Godwin Emefiele in a statement said the new deadline is Friday, February 10, 2023. Emefiele made the announcement after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari who is on a working visit to Katsina State.

Buhari on Saturday backed the CBN’s plan to phase out the current 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes by Tuesday, January 31.

The Presidency in a statement said Buhari insisted that the policy is “aimed at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man, and that it had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding.

“This, he assured, will stabilize and strengthen the economy.”

Buhari’s stance opposes that of former vice president Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu, and many Nigerians who complained that the new notes are not in circulation.

Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje for the same reason told President Muhammadu Buhari to postpone his visit to the state as he is “deeply concerned” about the hardship it is causing locals.

Senate during the plenary on Thursday urged the CBN to extend the deadline to July 31, citing fears that millions of Nigeria’s unbanked and rural dwellers may be hard done by if the initial date remains.

The Presidency, however, said Buhari notes the public complaints but assured that there will be no disruption in business and other supply chains of the economy as the deadline will remain.

“While taking note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, President Buhari gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.”

HURIWA condemns the CBN governor for turning the office of the governor of CBN into that of a SENIOR ERRAND BOY of President Muhammadu Buhari so much so that it took a meeting inside the bedroom of Muhammadu Buhari outside of the Aso Rock office in faraway Daura, Katsina State near Niger Republic for the CBN to announce a short extension but 24 hours later the chaos in the banks hasn’t abated.

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