Disburse old, new naira notes to banks immediately, HURIWA tells CBN
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Tuesday slammed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over its tardiness and insensitivity to the plight of millions of Nigerians whose lives have been strangulated economically in the last three months due to the nonsensical and illogical naira redesign policy of the apex bank.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said beyond the CBN’s reluctant compliance notice with the Supreme Court order of March 3, 2023 ten days after on Monday, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his co-travellers at the CBN should immediately release old and new naira notes into circulation to ease the sufferings of ordinary Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector and in the rural areas, who have no idea of digital banking.
The group carpeted the CBN for playing politics with the fiscal and monetary destinies of over 200 million Nigerians whose livelihood have been asphyxiated in the last three months.
The CBN on Monday said old N200, N500, N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023. This is coming 10 days after the Supreme Court ruled that old naira notes should co-exist with new ones till the end of the year. This is also coming hours after the Presidency said the CBN has no reason not to comply with the order of the apex court.
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Sixteen states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had prayed the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship, adding that the President breached the Constitution of the Federation in the way he issued directives for the re-designing of the Naira by the CBN.
After the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the Attorney General of the Federation kept mum, throwing many bank customers and Nigerians into confusion as the ruling of the apex court contradicted the directive of the President on February 16 that old N500 and N1000 notes are banned and old N200 notes remain valid till April 10.
However, the Presidency and CBN broke their silence on Monday.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The CBN and the Presidency subjected Nigerians to untold hardship, crippled the informal sector, and strangled the economy due to a policy that was not well thought-out and well-executed.
“Without any doubt, the CBN and the Presidency have shown flagrant disobedience to court orders and its tardy and afterthought compliance notice to the Supreme Court ruling after 10 days is not to be taken seriously.
“Beyond rhetorics and relunctant compliance notice to banks, the CBN should immediately release new and old naira notes to commercial banks for onward and instant disbursement to millions of Nigerians who have been groaning on bank queues and have not been able to spend their hard-earned monies in the last three months.
“Many workers have not been able to go to work because there is no money for transport fares despite that these millions of workers have money in their bank accounts but can’t access it due to the wicked and anti-people policy of the government and the CBN especially. HURIWA also backs the Nigeria Labour Congress on its planned nationwide protest after its seven-day ultimatum on the naira crunch. Enough of impunity!”