Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has alleged that there were plans to use the cash crunch and fuel scarcity in Nigeria to scuttle the forthcoming election and install an Interim National Government to be led by a retired Army General.
The Governor who made the allegation in a state broadcast on Wednesday night,said the currency redesign policy was to sustain the climate of shortage of fuel, food and other necessities, leading to mass protests, violence and breakdown of law and order that would provide a fertile foundation for a military take-over.
According to him, “once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest. They also sought to achieve any one or more of following objectives:”
” Create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the Party in all the elections.”
” Ensure that the cash crunch is so serious, along with the contrived and enduring fuel shortage existing since September 2022, that the 2023 Elections do not hold at all, leading to an Interim National Government to be led by a retired Army General.”
“Sustain the climate of shortage of fuel, food and other necessities, leading to mass protests, violence and breakdown of law and order that would provide a fertile foundation for a military take-over.”
He said in the pursuit of these objectives, “the Central Bank of Nigeria and these other disgruntled Federal officials have so far convinced the President that it is fine for ordinary citizens to be dispossessed of their hard-earned money, and starved if need be, while small and medium-sized businesses are deprived of access to their capital, thereby bringing trade and exchange to a grinding halt.”
“All our efforts to modify implementation of the policy to avoid what we assumed were unintended consequences were unsuccessful. I chose to speak out first as one person that has been particularly close to the President, believing that his actions were motivated by innocence, and mindful of his legacy. I have no regrets for doing my duty in this regard. One day, the President will appreciate what some of us are being insulted for today.”
“Yet, the politicians that the officials have convinced the President to regard as the real targets of the currency redesign policy have not been impeded in any way by it so far. Indeed, two of the presidential candidates, and a running mate of the opposition parties own or have preferred access to some of the licensed banks. For that reason and by various clandestine arrangements, these politicians have access to hundreds of millions of these new notes, while the traders, merchants, students and other citizens are queuing for days to withdraw a few thousand Naira just to buy food and necessaries.”
“Within two to three weeks of implementation, it was clear to everyone that the architects of this policy can see that it is our people that are being terribly affected, and not the politicians. It is quite unfortunate that many politicians who either own banks or have privileged access to money are so insulated from the pains of talakawa that they are recklessly endorsing a policy that is being badly implemented.”
“I am referring here to the comments by the candidate of one of the opposition parties who expressed opposition to the recommendation first of the APC state governors, and subsequently of all the governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum that the implementation timeline be extended, to enable the old and new notes to be legal tender side by side until the cash shortage ends.”
“My dear people of Kaduna State. Let me explain how the architects of this policy intentionally designed it to fail. The total currency in circulation in Nigeria was estimated at N3.2 trillion at the end of 2022. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, N2.1 trillion has been withdrawn as at early February. The CBN claimed that N700bn is the amount of cash needed for their functioning vision of a “cash-less” Nigerian economy. The Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Doyin Salami disagrees with this estimate, and believes at least N2 trillion of currency needs to be in circulation for our economic sustainability. Other experts variously estimate this to be between N1.2 trillion and above, so the CBN number of N700bn is not realistic.”
“The CBN informed the President at the very beginning that the Mint (NSPMC) has enough capacity to print the needed currency in circulation within the 6-week timeframe for the so-called ‘cash swap’. By its own admission, only N400bn worth of new notes had been printed for CBN as at early February.The current cash shortage was therefore designed from the beginning, the President was lied to about the domestic capacity of the Mint to print, and even if the announced N700bn was printed, it would have been grossly inadequate anyway. Imagine then printing only N400bn, and making most of it unavailable to the banks but passed to favoured entities through special arrangements. How can the CBN collect N2.1 trillion from citizens and print only N400bn? Is this not a clear case of economic sabotage?”
“It is bad economics to so curtail economic activity and the velocity of circulation of money. It is also insensitive to deliberately cause cash shortage and then seek to instigate the public against the mostly innocent commercial banks. Even the most honest and prudent action by banks cannot magically make N400bn to look like N2.1 trillion, or have the same spread and availability like the CBN should have ensured. As a regulator, the CBN should not be seen to be setting up the banking sector as the public enemy to cover up the glaring failure in its design and implementation of the cash swap policy.”
” We have repeatedly appealed to the Federal Government to allow whatever remains of the old notes to circulate concurrently with the new notes. We recommended that the Federal Government should also hasten to ensure that more of the new notes are printed and brought into circulation. We thought that if the Nigerian Mint is incapable of printing the volume of cash needed as it appears, then necessary steps must urgently be taken to get a reliable supply source.”
“There is no reason why the old notes and the new notes should not coexist until the old notes are gradually withdrawn over the years as is done in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other countries. It is unfortunate that in implementing this policy, Nigeria is departing from global best practise, without any compelling justification. The Kaduna State Government did all these, not in opposition to any person or authority, but because we stand with our people and their interests.”
” When it was clear that our recommendations will not be seriously considered, the Kaduna State Government decided, along with the governments of Kogi and Zamfara States to declare a dispute with the Federal Government. In line with the provisions of the Constitution, we approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria to invoke its original jurisdiction to hear us and the cries of our people. The Court did on February 8th, and ordered that the deadline of February 10th for all the ‘old’ notes ceasing to be legal tender be rescinded until the determination of the suit. This ruling applies to the Federal Government and its agencies like the CBN, and all commercial banks! We are grateful to the Court for this ruling, and we had hoped that compliance by the CBN and the banks would bring relief to our people. It is now clear that the architects of this policy are determined to continue to inflict maximum pain on the citizens to achieve their objectives outlined earlier.”
“It was our hope that the Federal Government of Nigeria would welcome this injunction as an opportunity to mitigate the needless human suffering being experienced and correct its course on this matter. There is no emergency situation that justifies the rushed and seemingly deliberate incompetent execution of this policy. We suggested that compliance with the ruling would include adopting a whole-of-government approach, that involves the agencies of the federal and state governments in modifying the design, execution the implementation of the currency redesign policy. “
” Even when confronted with the facts above, the CBN and its masters remain determined to implement their agenda no matter how much human suffering, death and destruction results. It is clear that the architects of this policy always had objectives that are totally in conflict with public interest, peace and the unity of Nigeria. They neither considered our suggestions in line with the Court order, nor respected the unanimous resolution of the Council of State.”
” It is also quite revealing that the Federal Government and its agencies not only disobeyed the February 8th ruling by continuing to say the February 10th deadline stands. It is shocking to see the blatant violation of the subsisting and continuing order of the Supreme Court that ALL the old and new notes should continue to be legal tender until it gives judgment in the case filed by the Kaduna State Government along with several others.”
” The address by the President earlier this morning limiting the legal tender status of old notes to only N200 amounts to total disregard and disobedience of the ruling of February 8th which was extended further yesterday by the Supreme Court. The misguided action of the Attorney-General to mislead the President into engaging in this public violation of the order of the highest court of the land shows how desperate the policy architects are to cause national chaos, by showing open contempt for the judiciary.”
“The decision to recognise only N200 as legal tender till April that the President announced this morning was offered to the state governments as part of proposals for an out-of-court settlement three days ago. The Federal Government asserted that this was offered because all the ‘old’ N1,000 and N500 notes had been destroyed. We rejected the offer and proved to the officials that not a single higher denomination note had been destroyed. We also believe that circulating N200 only to be inadequate in alleviating the suffering that we see every day. We insisted that all the components of the Supreme Court order should be complied with”.
” But back home, what do we do in Kaduna State? My dear of people of Kaduna State, with the foregoing revelations, it is clear that our peaceful coexistence as a state, and a nation, is being placed under deliberate danger using the intentional combination of fuel and cash supply disruptions. These evil people using the instrumentality of the Federal Government and the President as convenient covers are willing to truncate our democracy because they have personally lost out. They are massively deploying resources and tools to defeat the political party that gave us the platform to serve the country just because they could not impose the candidates of their choice. Let us not help them .”
“Let us stay calm and peaceful, and support the lawful means being utilised to solve our problems. On behalf of the Kaduna State Government, I wish to assure you that none of you would lose the money you have in old notes. Let no artificial and illegal deadline frighten you. Whether you live in towns, villages or in our isolated rural communities, do not feel stampeded to deposit your old notes in the banks. Hold on to them. Continue to use them as legal tender as ordered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. No deadline can render them worthless, ever. The law is on your side. The Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 and the Bills of Exchange Act, both oblige the CBN to recognise your old notes and give you value in new notes whenever you bring them to the CBN, even in the next 100 years.”
“Therefore, as your governor, I wish to assure you that the Kaduna State Government, in collaboration with elected legislators, traditional institution, elected local government councils, markets, and traders associations will help you collect, record, document, collate and deliver all your old notes to the Kaduna branch of the Central Bank on your behalf into the new ones immediately after the elections. We will also ensure the delivery of your new notes to your various locations without any hardship or expense on your part. We shall save you any panic and the stress of a long journey from your community to the CBN office in our state capital, from March until December 2023 if need be.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, all the old and new notes shall remain in use as legal tender in Kaduna State until the Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise. I therefore appeal to all residents of Kaduna State to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear. The Kaduna State Government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners. If need be, we shall take further consequential actions according to the law,” he said.
BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.
The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.
Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.
Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS
Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.
The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.
“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.
“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.
“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.
“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”
It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.
It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.
Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission
The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.
The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.
Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.
But in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.
In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:
“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”
Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.
In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri, said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.
“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”