The Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CSO) have expressed support for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele’s refusal to go back on its February 10 deadline on the use of old banknotes.
The CBN had redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes in November 2022 to tackle hoarding, forcing Nigerians to deposit their old currencies in line with the initial January 31 deadline, which the apex bank later extended to February 10.
Though an interim injunction granted by the Supreme Court restrained the CBN from carrying out the implementation, the apex bank is insistent on the policy.
Praising the CBN, a member of the group, Gabriel Ojemena, claimed that the impact on the country in various regards, including economy and security, have been positive.
“On our electoral process, it is now obvious to Nigerians that it is only the vote buyers that are complaining. This policy is facing a syndicated attack from a group of governors who we have termed the ‘G10 governors’,” he said.
“We have uncovered a grand plot by the G10 governors who have resolved to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Muhammadu Buhari if he refuses to reverse the new naira policy.
“These G10 governors are mopping [up] the money and stopping it from circulation.”
According to Ojemena, the new notes printed by the CBN was hijacked, so it did not trickle down to the masses. He added that the people who allegedly withdrew the new currency from the commercial banks have not allowed it to circulate.
“They are withholding the money using various means, including deploying agents who use multiple ATM cards. They go into the banks with a lot of ATM banks. They pull this cash, take it home to their masters,” he said.
“They withdraw this money, colluding with their banker agents to continue to drop the monies in the banks and buying of cash from business places that ordinarily making huge cash transactions like petrol stations, supermarkets, and departmental stores.
“This has made some of these businesses insist on only cash payments as the profit they make from the sales of the naira covers for the loss of business from those who do not have the cash to pay.”
The alleged sabotage is expected to put more pressure on the system and lead to abandonment or reversal of the policy, Ojemena said.
Of the CSO’s part, the so-called G10 governors can “cry all they want” because, according to him, Nigerians are happy that the policy has hit those political leaders hard and “curtailed their excesses.”