Naira ‘Confiscation’, Redesign: Buhari, Emefiele’s Contempt For Nigerians, By Tunde Abatan

Tunde Abatan

Naira ‘Confiscation’, Redesign: Buhari, Emefiele’s Contempt For Nigerians, By Tunde Abatan


Until one week lapsed last Friday when the Supreme court gave a judgement that both old and new naira notes should serve as means of exchange till December this year, Nigerians had expected a new lease of life by the implementation of the apex courts directive.

However, when the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN claimed it is yet to receive Certified True Copy, CTC of the Supreme Court judgement, it became apparent that both President Muhammadu Buhari and Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN have once again choose which court ruling to respect or not.

That, in spite of the sufferings of Nigerians all over the country as a result of refusal to accept the old N1000 and N500 as a means of exchange, by service providers across the broad spectrum of society, the federal government is not moved.

It has shown by words and body language that it is less concerned by the sufferings of the masses and it’s open disdain of the Supreme court Judgement.

One would have expected that with the judgement Friday March 3, the federal government and or both Buhari and Emefiele who are in their last national assignments should have set aside protocols to ask the banks to accept the old notes and by so doing lessen the pains and agony caused families, students, parents and the downtrodden who live by daily earnings.

That President Buhari had less than 78 days to go should have been enough for him to bend backwards to put smiles on the face of Nigerians.

That the President choose to stay far away in Doha for the African leader’s summit is an indication of either lack of understanding or appreciation of the enormity of pains Nigerians go through   daily struggling for survival or he choose not to bother about how he would want to be remembered towards his last days in office.

From Sokoto to Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Lagos-the fourth largest economy in Africa, the struggle for daily survival which had killed the macro- economy sector, has never been witnessed either during the civil war era or since the commencement of the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP with the killing International Monetary Fund, IMF conditionality in the late eighties.

To be precise in 1986 when the former military President Ibrahim Babangida’s regime hold sway, the fate Industries and private individuals had to encounter is a devalued national currency which began it’s descent from N1 to $1.8,dollars to N461.7 official exchange rate on which it has ironically remained since January when the local currency disappeared .

That Nigerians had to pay through the nose to buy their local currency is unheard of in a depressed economy.

What is more, cost of living has gone up, while transportation, food and other essential services are in comatose as the only local means of exchange has disappeared.

One would have expected that Emefiele would have admitted to President Buhari the apparent failure of the currency swap project to achieve it’s aim of affecting the result of the last Presidential and National Assembly election, release the old notes into circulation, extend the time frame for replacing it and lessen the burden of devaluation by proxy of the nation’s currency.

For Nigerians to exchange N1000 for N1300 has inadvertently contributed to the suffering which the citizenry has been going through in the past five years of voodoo economy that shows no sign of rebound.

Naturally, the National Assembly, NASS, should have called both Buhari and Emefiele to order but their individual and collective preoccupation with re-election has swayed their attention from protecting the downtrodden who elected them.

It is ironic that to same citizens already trampled upon by the voodoo monetary policy, that the NASS members have turned for renewal of their ticket.

However, last Friday bold moves by ten state governments of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Lagos and Sokoto states who have served the CBN Governor and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami CTC of the Supreme court Judgement failure which may earn the duo commitment for contempt, may serve as a leeway for Emefiele and Malami to ease their burden and save their own future.

A contempt of court Judgement against the duo who lacks immunity may be all that is needed to end their public service career especially as a new government is waiting.

As for President Buhari, the next 77 days should provide a window for him to put a human face on his anti -people policies which has robbed off negatively on whatever redeeming value left of his government.

To pretend that all is well since he had few days left is to invite a harsh judgement of History!

The nation waits.