AREWA Consultative Forum, ACF, has told President Muhammadu Buhari that the much-touted benefits of the naira redesign policy can never justify the damage to his credentials as a democrat and a stickler for the rule of law.
ACF’s statement came on a day Ohanaeze Ndigbo expressed a similar sentiment, asking the federal government to implement the Supreme Court judgement which ordered that the old N500 and N1000 circulate with the new notes.
Secretary General of ACF, Murtala Aliyu, who noted this in a statement yesterday, said the policy had led to runaway inflation in food and other commodities.
Recall that the Supreme Court had ten days ago, held that President, Muhammadu Buhari breached the Constitution of Nigeria in the manner he directed the CBN to redesign the Naira without consulting the National Council of States and the Federal Executive Council.
It went further to rule that the unconstitutional use of powers by the President on naira redesign has breached the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens in various ways.
The group said: “Whatever the CBN or anyone else says about the benefits of the policy, which evidently are many, is of little comfort as soon as the highest court in the country has deemed that it is, or, at least the manner of its implementation, breaches the law.”
The ACF also warned that the crisis had the possibility to morph into a serious social disorder leading to the possible breakdown of law and order throughout Nigeria.
The group said 10 days was long enough time for the government to find its way towards complying with a court order which import was central to the achievement of peace, order and good governance in the country.
The ACF noted that huge crowds and long queues form around bank offices and ATM points across the country as people struggle to get the new cash which had remained extremely scarce.
“It has triggered riots and other forms of civil unrest. 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 as a democrat and a stickler for the rule of law,” the ACF said.
Some state governors have persistently argued that the policy, which permitted the CBN to place an embargo on the circulation of old N500 and N1,000 notes, while not providing their replacement in sufficient quantity,, had triggered severe cash shortages and chaos in the economy, leading to runaway inflation in food and other commodities.
Implement Supreme Court Order on naira redesign, Ohanaeze urges FG
Speaking in a similar vein, Ohanaeze Ndigbo called on the Federal Government to implement the Supreme Court order on the use of old currency till the end of the year.“The apex Igbo socio-cultural body said the call was in response to the “evident hardship Nigerians are going through.”It stressed the necessity for the government to embark on an enlightenment campaign to educate the people that the old currencies were still accepted in all transactions.
“The policy is a very good one, it will help to improve the economy. The more cashless we go, the better for the country. Also, it will reduce the frequent cases of kidnapping and demand for ransom.“However, the implementation is the problem. Ohanaeze had at the beginning of the exercise called on President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the time.“They withdrew the old money without replacing them. Federal Government should let the people know that the old money is still accepted and they should also release them in line with Supreme Court directive.“They should equally embark on enlightenment campaigns to inform the people that the old money is still in use to clear the hardship and confusion in the country. Evidently, the hardship is too much,” the spokesman, Dr Chidozie Alex Ogbonnia, said.
Lives are lost, businesses collapsing needlessly – Afenifere
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, said the negative outcome of implementing the naira redesign policy was having an adverse effect on Nigerians, noting that lives were still being lost, just as businesses were collapsing.
Ajayi also cited the instance of a broadcaster with Fresh FM, Ibadan, Oyo State, who slumped and died last Saturday while trekking because he could not access the needed cash.
He, however, urged the President and the CBN governor to, as a matter of urgency, proclaim that all the currency notes, both old and new, should continue to be used by the public.
He said: “Just as the annulment came to become the yardstick to assess that regime, so will the inhuman, inconsiderate and illegal ways of implementing the Naira redesigning eventually become the prism through which President Muhammadu Buhari administration will be judged.
”Unfortunately, the verdict is not going to be favourable to the administration in view of the number of lives that have been lost and the number of businesses that have been ruined due to lack of access to legitimately earned cash by citizens and business owners. As we speak now, lives are still being lost just as businesses are still collapsing needlessly.
“What makes the whole thing to be more worrisome is the refusal of President Buhari and Mr Godwin Emefiele of the CBN to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court.
”It is mind-boggling in view of their vow to act in accordance with the law. And the expectation that the welfare of the people is what these public officers would work for all the time.”
ACF spoke minds of Nigerians on the damaging effect of the Naira redesign policy – MBF
Reacting in the same vein, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, said the ACF earnestly spoke the minds of Nigerians in its statement alerting President Muhammadu Buhari that the much-touted benefits of the naira redesign could never justify the damage to his credentials as a democrat and a stickler for the rule of law.
National President of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, said: “the policy to the extent that it has caused a lot of damages, is true because for me to get some few Naira in my pocket I had to buy Naira with Naira. That is how bad things are.
“Somebody could not travel just because some people felt he had to pay in cash. And the problem goes on and on.
“Whatever his reasons for doing that I do not think it justifies the whole intention. If it was to stop buying of votes as some of them claimed, I do not think that is also justifiable given the fact that the election was the worst that we ever had, because INEC just did things and gave results arbitrarily. Today INEC cannot even allow contestants to look into their records; because they know that the records are not clean.
“So when you look at all these, there is no justification for what has been done. It has caused a lot of damage. Some people think that socio-cultural groups are only noise-makers, but we are not. When we see that things are bad we say it as it is.
“I think and believe that ACF just told him the truth; that whatever his intentions it does not justify the hardship and difficulty Nigerians have been thrown into because of the so-called naira redesign policy.”
ACF position belated – PANDEF
In its reaction, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said the position of ACF was coming late.
The National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, said in Port Harcourt yesterday that the implementation process of the naira redesign policy of the federal government made a mess of the good intention of the government in checking illegal financial transactions.
Robinson said: “It is belated. You know that the suffering arising from that naira redesigning policy is ethnicity, age blind. It does not recognize whether you are a Yoruba, Hausa or an Igbo man. It does not recognize whether you are in the city or village.
“It is a draconic policy. It may be good for those who understand the economy, but the management of the process is chaotic. The timing is also faulty.
“If as they say, it was to guide against vote buying, those targeted at have won the elections. So, why are they still making Nigerians to suffer?
“Today, I went to get N5000 somewhere in Port Harcourt. I was made to pay N2000. When you go to communities people are suffering because in some places no PoS so they have resorted to trade by barter. Give me fish, I give you yam or garri.
“It is difficult to imagine the brains behind the faulty and flawed policy that ordinarily should have been celebrated. Nigeria is looking more like a greater joke. Every true Nigerian including the socio-cultural Group like Arewa should speak up. There is a need to tell the president that enough is enough.
“This position of ACF should have come earlier. We know that Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum had issued a statement earlier, saying the policy has a good intention, in terms of checking illicit financial transaction, but the management process and timing is faulty.”