*Emefiele appeals for support, meets bank executives, directs them to make old N200 available 

*Says temporary pains regrettable 

*Withdraw your suit against FG, Katsina Commissioner tells govs

*Obaseki, apex bank, PoS operators meet, strategise on cash disbursement across Edo
*Lagos, Gbajabiamila, Wike fault disregard for S’Court order  

*El-Rufai counters president, urges Kaduna residents to continue using old notes

Deji Elumoye, Emmanuel Addeh, Udora Orizu in Abuja, David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City, Francis Sardauna in Katsina and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the cashless policy and the naira redesign project of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have short and long term benefits for the country in dealing with insecurity and corruption.
He however, agreed that the apex bank should take the recommendation of a parliamentary committee to rectify identified challenges associated with the initiative which had created imbroglio in the past few days.

Buhari’s comments came as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, gave him an assurance that N200 currency notes taken out of circulation would be returned and widely circulated effective yesterday.
This was just as Katsina State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Ya’u Umar Gwajo-gwajo has called on Governors of Zamfara, Kaduna, Kogi, Katsina, Kano, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti and other states that dragged the federal government to the Supreme Court against banning the old N1000, N500 and N200 to withdraw the suit.

Nevertheless, Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday in a televised broadcast to residents of the state, countered Buhari’s earlier directive in an early morning broadcast yesterday that only N200 old notes and all the new denominations of Nigeria’s currency remain legal tender.
On his part, yesterday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, faulted the decision of the federal government to disregard the Supreme Court order on the issue of currency swap.

The apex court had last week given an order for the old N1,000, N500 and N200 should remain legal tender pending the determination of a case brought before it by some state governors. The apex court had on Wednesday reiterated its order and adjourned the matter to February 22.
The president who spoke yesterday at the State House, Abuja, when he received briefing from members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on cashless policy and Naira swap, said his speech earlier in the day was comprehensive enough and was adequate as a response to the general outcry about the problems associated with the currency exchange.
He described the aim of the policy as, “very good, security-wise” as seen from the lessening of kidnappings and associated corrupt practices.
Buhari again accused banks of being a problem.

The CBN governor, as directed by the president, explained that the cashless policy was a global policy.
“Nigeria must go cashless. It is a global policy, checking insecurity and fighting corruption,” Emefiele said.
He added that senior officers at the CBN had all been sent out, complimented by “Super agents,” to take new currencies to unbanked rural populations, expressing optimism that the problems he described as “temporary, passing” will go away in no distant future.
He disclosed that he had met 15 bank chief earlier in the day in an effort to resolve prevailing problems and will do so again later in the evening, assuring that “we are at the end of the problem.”

He also gave the promise that by the end of February, the CBN would bring into circulation between N700-N800 billion, well in excess of what was needed to run the economy, stating emphatically that it was not possible to put back more than N3 trillion if the economy was to be healthy.
Emefiele gave a firm promise that the apex bank’s policy would not disrupt the forthcoming elections.

Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, the CBN Governor appealed to Nigerians to allow the naira redesign policy of government to work.
According to him, allowing the currency swap to work would go a long way to help the nation’s economy.
His words: “I have met with about 15 banks this morning and we have given them directive on go to get all the old N200 available effective today. And I can assure Nigerians this will help reduce the pain.

“We meet with the bankers at least once daily to get feedback and the rest of them and I think we should just allow this to work, the temporary pains are regrettable but I can assure Nigerians that it will be well.”
According to him: “The truth is that we are all servants. We are serving Nigerians. As far as we are concerned the Attorney General has spoken on this matter and the president has sealed the whole issue this morning in his broadcast.
“I think I can only just appeal to Nigerians, let’s allow this policy to work. This policy is one policy that goes to reduce the problem of corruption and illicit financial flaws.
“This policy goes to resolve some of the problems in the economy, this policy also goes to reducing the level of insecurity in the country. So these three issues which are the tripod of this administration’s policy are all embedded in this policy.  We should just allow it to work.
“We keep saying this, there are some temporary pains, but I can assure Nigerians that the long-run benefit to Nigeria is overwhelming and we should just give it a chance to work.”

On what Nigerians should expect from the CBN following the directive of the president, Emefiele said the president had given his directives.
The leader of the Parliamentary delegation, House Majority Leader and Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, Hon Ado Doguwa, said the meeting with the president was necessitated by the need to bring him up to date on the “problems of implementation and unintended consequences” of the new cash policy.
In acknowledging the far-reaching quality of the president’s broadcast to the nation earlier yesterday, the House Leader said the legislature and the government were on the same page in so far as the goals of the policy were concerned.  
He added, however, that more needed to be done to remove the “hardship and inconveniences” that have attended its implementation.
Also addressing newsmen after the meeting with the President, the House Leader stressed that the naira redesign policy was against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that it was going to make the party unpopular.

His words: “I as a member of the ruling party, told Mr. President that the policy in itself is a policy that is against the ruling party, my party because it’s a government policy, Muhammadu Buhari government, government of the APC.
“And Nigeria’s at time of elections are now looking at my government coming up with an unpopular policy. Unpopular because it does not matter if the policy may be seen to be professionally good. Some us see a lot of things good about the policy, but our worry as members of the ruling party is why now? 30-40 days to elections you come out with a policy that is not widely accepted by Nigeria’s and whether we like it or not that will be seen as the program of government.
“So those of us in the APC are not happy about it and I believe some of my colleagues in other parties would not see this as a good policy. Not good because the time is absolutely wrong”.

He said the committee came to see the President in spite of his broadcast and his directives to the CBN governor to commend him for that but to also tell him that “It is not yet Uhuru.”
Doguwa said he told President Buhari that the Committee will continue to interface with the CBN in the implementation of his directives, adding that the Green Chamber will not hesitate to invoke the instrumentality of law to call the CBN boss to order if he derails from implementing the directive.
According to him, “One important thing I want to stress is that Mr. President has addressed most of the issues we want to raise with him at the national broadcast this morning. But that notwithstanding, Mr. President allowed us to meet him believing the fact that the committee coming to him represent the institution of the National Assembly.

“And when you have issues to do with policies of government, you have matters that border on lives and livelihood of our people, the best institution to speak for Nigerians is this institution, the National Assembly and in this case, the House of Representatives.
“What excites us is that when we met Mr. President, he was already on ground with those agencies that have something to do with this issue of naira redesign and naira swap. The CBN governor was there at his instance, the representative of the Ministry of Finance was there, the AGF was also represented there, the inspector General of Police was also there.
“We came to say to Mr. President that in spite of his broadcast this morning, in spite of the fact that he has told the CBN to make some amendments, to take some new steps to ameliorate the hardship this policy has already entrenched in our economy which is impacting negatively on the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians, we told Mr. President clearly that it is not yet Uhuru.

“For instance, the Central Bank has been directed to make money available, this new naira notes should be made available. But how do we ensure that Mr. President’s directive is being carried out? That cannot be guaranteed. Thank God that Mr. President addressed us and addressed the CBN governor once again to our face and we used the opportunity to also tell the CBN governor that ‘you must go around to implement the directive of the President as contained in the letters of his speech; not a matter of perception, not a matter of being professional.
“You cannot be more professional than the feelings of the actual players in the market place of the economy.
“No matter what policy you want to bring; no matter how good or decent that policy is, as long as it brings about hardship, pressure to the system, then that policy must be deemed to be otherwise. It is on this note that we told Mr President that we would continue to interface with relevant agencies especially the CBN governor.

“Of course while we are discharging our constitutional right to oversight every institution of government, we must ensure that the directive of Mr. President is carried out to the letter, failure to do that we must involve every instrumentality of the law, legislative instrumentality, to ensure that Presidential orders are being abided by and ensure that the laws of the land are also being respected.”
He added: “But I want to state without any fear of contradiction that I share in the perception of Mr. President, in the perception not the CBN governor that there is need for us to entrench this policy to be able to address some security problems; there is need for this policy so that Nigeria can be seen to be working on same page with international economies.

“But why do you want us to be cashless at a time when we are facing a general election where security apparatus working to protect the election process would require cash to service their logistics?
“Why will you insist on cashless when even INEC has raised a lot of fears that without cash is needed to carry out activities by the electoral commission.”
He further said the Electoral Act makes provision of the amounts individuals especially those contesting elections are supposed to have to execute elections.
“I need to have N70 million in hard copy, the law has permitted it and as I speak to you, I don’t have it. ATM stations have turned to wrestling grounds.”

Buhari Okays Recirculation of Old N200 Notes, Says Policy Reduced Money Politics

Meanwhile, confirming THISDAY’s exclusive report, the president has directed the CBN to release into circulation the old N200 note as legal tender up till April 10, 2023.
The president gave the directive in a national broadcast yesterday morning, to address challenges associated with the naira scarcity which had resulted to violent protest in some cities.
He sympathised with sufferings of Nigerians, just as he said the directive was to ease the sufferings causes by scarcity of the nation’s currency.
Buhari stressed that in line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1,000 and N500 notes would no longer be legal tender, but remains redeemable at the CBN and designated points.

While disclosing that the approval was as a result of wide consultations with relevant stakeholders including the representatives of state governors, Council of State, Buhari said he was aware that the new policy had also contributed immensely to the minimisation of the influence of money in politics.
This, according to him, was a positive departure from the past and represents a bold legacy step by this administration, towards laying a strong foundation for free and fair elections

The president, who listed the advantages of the ongoing financial reforms embarked upon by the apex bank, said the policy was part of efforts of his administration to restore the statutory ability of the CBN to keep a firm control over money in circulation.
He, therefore, challenged the citizens to make their deposits of the old notes by taking advantage of the platforms and windows being provided by the CBN.
Buhari also directed the CBN to intensify collaboration with anti- corruption agencies in checking the activities of those who were bent on sabotaging the smooth implementation of the new Naira redesign policy.

He reassured that government would continue to assess the implementation of the policy with a view to ensuring that Nigerians were not unnecessarily burdened, adding that the CBN would ensure the availability of the new naira notes across the country.
While appealing for more understanding from the citizens, he reiterated the commitment of his administration to handover a financially stable economy to the incoming administration on May 29, 2023.

According to President Buhari: “I have found it necessary to address you on the state of the nation and to render account on the efforts of our administration to sustain and strengthen our economy, enhance the fight against corruption and sustain our gains in the fight against terrorism and insecurity which has, undoubtedly, been impacted by several internal and external factors.
“Particularly, I am addressing you, as your democratically elected President, to identify with you and express my sympathy, over the difficulties being experienced as we continue the implementation of new monetary policies, aimed at boosting our economy and tightening of the loopholes associated with money laundering.

“Let me re-assure Nigerians, that strengthening our economy, enhancing security and blockage of leakages associated with illicit financial flows remain top priority of our administration. “And I shall remain committed to my oath of protecting and advancing the interest of Nigerians and the nation, at all times. In the last quarter of 2022, I authorised the CBN to redesign the N200, N500, and N1000 Nigerian banknotes. For a smooth transition, I similarly approved that the redesigned banknotes should circulate concurrently with the old bank notes, till 31 January 2023, before the old notes, cease to be legal tender.
“In appreciation of the systemic and human difficulties encountered during implementation and in response to the appeal of all citizens, an extension of ten days was authorised till 10th February, 2023 for the completion of the process.

“All these activities are being carried out within the ambit of the Constitution, the relevant law under the CBN Act 2007 and in line with global best practices. Fellow citizens, while I seek your understanding and patience during this transient phase of implementation, I feel obliged to avail you a few critical points underpinning the policy decision.”

He added: These include: The need to restore the statutory ability of the CBN to keep a firm control over money in circulation. In 2015 when this administration commenced its first term, Currency-in-Circulation was only N1.4 trillion.
“The proportion of currency outside banks grew from 78 per cent in 2015 to 85 per cent in 2022. As of October 2022, therefore, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the Banking System while N2.7 trillion remained permanently outside the system; thereby distorting the financial policy and efficient management of inflation.

“The huge volume of bank notes outside the banking system has proven to be practically unavailable for economic activities and by implication, retard the attainment of potential economic growth; economic growth projections make it imperative for government to aim at expanding financial inclusion in the country by reducing the number of the unbanked population; and given the prevailing security situation across the country, which keeps improving, it also becomes compelling for government to deepen its continuing support for security agencies to successfully combat banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria.
“Notwithstanding the initial setbacks experienced, the evaluation and feedback mechanism set up has revealed that gains have emerged from the policy initiative. I have been reliably informed that since the commencement of this program, about N2.1 trillion out of the banknotes previously held outside the banking system, had been successfully retrieved.

“This represents about 80 per cent of such funds. In the short to medium and long terms, therefore, it is expected that there would be: a strengthening of our macroeconomic parameters; Reduction of broad money supply leading to a deceleration of the velocity of money in the economy which should result in less pressures on domestic prices; lowering of inflation as a result of the accompanying decline in money supply that will slow the pace of inflation collapse of illegal economic activities which would help to stem corruption and acquisition of money through illegal ways, exchange rate stability; availability of easy loans and lowering of interest rates; and greater visibility and transparency of our financial actions translating to efficient enforcement of our anti- money laundering legislations.

“I am not unaware of the obstacles placed on the path of innocent Nigerians by unscrupulous officials in the banking industry, entrusted with the process of implementation of the new monetary policy. I am deeply pained and sincerely sympathise with you all, over these unintended outcomes.”

Withdraw Your Naira Redesign Policy Suit against FG, Katsina Commissioner Tells Govs

The Katsina State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Ya’u Umar Gwajo-gwajo yesterday  called on governors that dragged the federal government to the Supreme Court to withdraw their suit.
Reacting to the national broadcast by Buhari, the Commissioner urged the governors of the respective states to withdraw the suit and allow God’s will to prevail.
Gwajo-gwajo while addressing journalists, said if the governors were actually acting in the interest of the masses, they should withdraw their litigation against the federal government in view of the retention of N200 old notes as legal tender by Buhari.
He explained that while he was not in support of the common man suffering as a result of the CBN policy, it would change the attitude of leaders for the better and improve the nation’s economy and tackle vote-buying as well as money politics in the country.
He said: “If they (governors) are doing it for the benefit of the masses and for them to have relief from the current challenges, they should withdraw their suit and by God’s grace the challenges will be over.”
He added that Buhari’s intervention was aimed at reducing the hardship faced by Nigerians since the coming of the new policy, especially the petty traders and other low income earners.
According to him, “If all the redesigned naira notes were allowed to continue to circulate, the aim of the policy of ending money politics will not be achieved. Therefore, we are in support of the policy, and any leader who is working for the masses should also support the decision of the president.
“Our major issue is that, if the masses were helped, and their suffering is reduced, that’s our aim, we can only say thanks be to God. We are not supporting the further circulation of other old naira notes, as we are not in support of importing farm products or reopening of the borders.”

Gbajabiamila Faults FG’s Disregard for Supreme Court Order

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has faulted the decision of the Federal Government to disregard the Supreme Court order on the issue of currency swap.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement he personally signed in Abuja, said though the president’s directive was a step in the right direction, the federal government could not afford situations that “suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law.”
“This morning, President Muhammadu Buhari, announced that he has authorised the CBN to reintroduce the old N200 notes into circulation, pending when the bank can make sufficient amounts of the new currency available. This is a step in the right direction, and I hope it helps curb Nigerians’ suffering.
“However, the decision still falls short of the order of the Supreme Court that the old currencies remain legal tender pending the adjudication of a pending suit brought by state governments on the legality of the policy and its implementation.

“It is not to the benefit of our country for the federal government to act in ways that suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law. It will be better for us to strictly adhere to the court’s order in this matter pending the adjudication of the substantive suit. “For the sake of our country, we must work together to resist actions that escalate tensions and endanger our democracy at this crucial moment of national awakening and rebirth. In all things, let the well-being of our fellow citizens and the survival of our nation be foremost in our hearts and guide all the decisions we make in this historic moment.”

 Bemoaning the current situation in the country, Gbajabiamila said, “citizens and visitors are experiencing grave and unnecessary hardship across our country. They spend hours and days queuing at banks and teller machines to receive stipends of their own money to afford life’s necessities.

“This situation is a consequence of the flawed implementation of the naira redesign policy by the CBN.”

Obaseki, CBN, PoS Operators Meet, Strategise on Cash Disbursement Across Edo

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, met with officials of the CBN and members of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN) in the state to strategise on how to disburse cash to ease tension and ameliorate the hardship faced by Edo people in accessing redesigned naira notes.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the governor noted that the Wednesday’s protests and violence in Benin City, which led to the destruction of properties in the metropolis didn’t happen by accident, but were sponsored by selfish politicians to cause crisis and disaffection in the state.

Expressing displeasure over the sad incident, Obaseki said, “During the electioneering, the practice of the opposition party is to create disaffection and cause trouble in the state. This happened during my own reelection campaign in 2020.

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not the one that created the policy but our focus is on Edo people. The protest in the state yesterday was beyond anger but it was politically motivated.”

“The security agencies are already working hard on arresting those involved in the destruction across some Benin City. There is a lot of footage and those involved will be arrested and prosecuted,” the governor assured.

Obaseki noted that there are more money agents than bank branches in Edo State, urging the AMMBAN members to collaborate with the government and CBN to address the situation, adding, “the PoS operators have a bad reputation, which must be corrected. If you have members charging customers above the normal price for their transactions, there should be an internal mechanism to deal with such issues. You must first regulate yourself and your association before you can help address this shortage of cash issue.”

He further charged the CBN officials to fund more PoS operators with cash to help reduce the tension in the state over cash shortage, noting, “we would like the CBN to immediately fund more POS operators as much as possible as they go into the markets with the necessary security to address the cash shortage since banks are not opened and they are the only banks available for now. Please, we want you to double the number of POS operators to enable them address the issue.”

Urging residents to support and embrace the federal government’s cashless policy, Obaseki said, “This is where Nigeria is headed. The push for a cashless economy has not been properly driven. As leaders, we must accept responsibilities and work hard to reduce the tension in the country.”

In his response, the Chairman of AMMBAN in Edo State, Mr. Osaro Ekhator expressed appreciation to the governor for the meeting, assuring the support of members of the association to bring a lasting solution to the current cash crisis.

He stated, “We are affected, our livelihood has been affected, our shops were burnt during this period. Our members have been arrested severally due to transactions and businesses carried out but the State identity card your administration has embarked on will solve the problem as it will become easy for us to identify our customers through this process.”

El-Rufai Counters Buhari, Urges Kaduna Residents to Continue Use of All Old Notes

In a related development, El-Rufai, in a televised broadcast to residents of the state, countered Buhari’s directive that only N200 old notes and all the new denominations of Nigeria’s currency remain legal tender.

Sounding a defiant note, the governor insisted that old and new notes remain legal currency in the state, pending the Supreme Court’s decision, describing Buhari’s directive as artificial and illegal.

“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 Central Bank 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,” El-Rufai declared.

El-Rufai told Kaduna people that he was making every effort to ease the hardship caused by the scarcity of naira notes, characterising the current difficulties as ‘needless’.

“On behalf of the government of Kaduna state, I wish to express my deepest regret at the needless suffering you are enduring as a result of the prolonged fuel shortage and the difficulties occasioned by the so-called currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he added.

The governor vowed to ensure that anyone who flouts the order from the state authorities was sanctioned, including the affected individuals or groups being prosecuted, noting that those bent on withdrawing old notes from circulation are enemies of Nigeria.

“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.

“While urging you all not to fall for these antics of the enemies of Nigeria, please be patient and continue to exercise resilience in the face of open provocation and deliberate disinformation,” he stated.

While publicly supporting what he said appeared to be a beneficial policy before now, El-Rufai stated that himself and his colleagues had ‘innocently’ engaged privately with the president and the leadership of the CBN, but were forced to go public when progress was not being made.

He alleged that the policy was conceived and sold to the president by officials whom he said completely lost out in the gubernatorial and presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in June 2022.

The former minister maintained that the naira redesign was done by persons fighting the APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, saying the whole goal was to ensure that elections do not hold at all, leading to an Interim National Government (ING) to be led by an unnamed retired Army General.

“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,” El-Rufai alleged.

According to him, the current cash shortage was therefore designed from the beginning and was sold to the president not to benefit Nigerians, but a clear case of economic sabotage.

“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,” he insisted.

El-Rufai urged the people of Kaduna State to remain peaceful and vigilant in the face of what he described as brazen attempts to engineer crisis in order to get a pretext for unconstitutional or undemocratic actions.

Soludo to Buhari: Consider Hardship Faced by Nigerians

 The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, yesterday called on Buhari to consider the hardship faced by common Nigerians as a result of currency redesign and ameliorate their plight.

The governor called on Buhari to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court, which declared that the old and new notes should serve as legal tender for now.

Soludo who spoke during the burial mass of the first republic minister of aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi said: “I express gratitude to the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who is represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige.

“I call on the president to consider the agony faced by the Nigerian people as a result of the new Naira redesign policy.

“Since the Supreme Court has declared that the old and new naira notes should remain legal tender until judgment is rendered, the president should obey the ruling of the apex court, which placed him in the position of President of Nigeria.”

Datti: Shift in Old Naira Deadline Portrays Buhari as Weak Leader

The vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed has said that the extension of the deadline for the use of old N200 notes implied weakness on the part of Buhari.

But Datti who spoke during a courtesy visit to the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe contended that for Buhari to have shifted grounds twice, showed that he was not firm, and may still make another shift when the new deadline elapses.

“It is mixed feelings because when you see a president budge once, however small, those mighty (people) that prevailed on him to budge will see a gleam of hope to press further.

“Maybe this president is becoming a weakling, as they would say a lame duck President, and if you cede one inch, you are likely to cede another inch.

“So, it is a lot of concern for us for the president to change position literally nine days to the election.

“However, we have recognised the fact, currency is a sovereign matter and no state governor especially those who don’t respect court judgement have any right to interfere with the Federal government in issues about currency.

“It has been done and it stays and it was poorly implemented and everything about government is poorly done including our economy, security as well as the level of corruption and we have come to live with it.

“We pray that the election would go well so that as His Majesty said if election is well done, it can open the space for good governance,” he said.

While receiving the vice presidential candidate, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe said the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and body of Arch Bishops and Bishops had earlier lamented that the Peace Accord signed by the Presidential candidates under the platform of the National Peace Committee headed by Gen Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd) had been severally violated.

Wike Accuses Buhari of Undermining Supreme Court Order

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State yesterday, accused Buhari of undermining the Supreme Court.

Wike said Buhari’s broadcast insisting that the old N500 and N1000 note have ceased to be a legal tender was tantamount to interference with pending lawsuit in the Supreme Court.

Wike, who spoke during a media chat in Port Harcourt, stressed that the president’s directive to the CBN to reintroduce only the old N200 note into the economy was an affront on the Supreme Court.

The Rivers State governor expressed dismay that the president who ideally should be the epitome of rule to law, regrettably took deliberate steps to undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court, whose interim injunction on the naira swap matter was still subsisting.

“As far as i am concerned, this is a complete interference, which is not good for our democracy.”

The governor said it was hypocritical for the federal government to propose out of court settlement with aggrieved states, while at the same time undermining the outcome of the pending suit in Supreme Court.

“The issue of N200 in circulation is neither here nor there. If they had pulled out of court, then the president could come in. Having not pulled out of court and the interim order still subsists, we should obey it to the latter.”

He maintained that the federal government claim that the naira redesign policy would curb corruption and vote-buying was not tenable. According to him, the timing of the naira swap policy smacks of politics.

“So, we must consider issue of timing. Some people may say it is good to help fight corruption. I don’t believe so. As far as I am concerned, I believe that this policy is targeted at some people. I may not be wrong,” he added.

Wike said he cannot fathom how a policy which the federal government claimed was intended to help the Nigerian economy, turned out to be its albatross.

Lagos Attorney General Insists Supreme Court’s Position Remains Valid

 Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo has joined the debate on the phasing out of the old N200, N500 and N1,000, saying the rejection of the old notes was contrary to the Supreme Court’s stand.

Onigbanjo stated this when he appeared on TVC Business Show, adding that petrol stations, banks and others who reject the old notes could be prosecuted.  

The Senior Advocate decried the lingering naira scarcity in the land, adding that the high charges by PoS operators had fostered untold hardship on Nigerians.

He noted that people who were hungry and have their means of livelihood eroded cannot care about any macro-economic policy or its short or long-term gain.

The Attorney-General said: “There is a contract between a customer and a bank that says when you bring your money to us you can have it back on demand. Any bank that refuses to give the money on demand has violated the terms and conditions of that contract and can be sued.

“I will advise Lagosians who have experienced suffering and injury as a result of the situation to press charges”.

In the Commissioner’s view, it was ridiculous that Nigerians were buying their own money.

“Even the producers of goods and services are losing money due to the scarcity of new notes to purchase their products easily”, he said.  

On his legal perspective on the recent Supreme Court ruling, the AG noted that though Buhari has enormous powers, he cannot repeal the order of the Supreme Court or any other court in the country. 

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