Naira Swap: Buhari Summons Emefiele, Council Of State As Ruling Ignites Protest

L-R: Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday Summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and emergency Council of State meeting over the Supreme Court ruling suspending the deadline for the old naira notes swap from February 10, 2023.

The meeting at the state house in Abuja, TheFact Daily gathers, was to find a common ground for the effective implementation of the policy.

Recall, the Supreme Court in a ruling led by Justice John Okoro temporarily restrained the Federal Government and CBN from implementing the February 10 deadline for N200, N500 and N1,000 validity.

The Supreme Court ruling, however, ignited protest in Abuja rejecting the suspension of deadline, with inscriptions on their placards like: “Justice Ariwoola don’t allow Supreme Court to be used to open markets for corruption and vote buying”, “police, SSS, don’t allow opponents of naira redesign policy to cause violence and burn banks and destroy public property”.

Also in Abuja, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) of Nigeria asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola to vacate the order by the Supreme Court restraining the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline for the validity of old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes.

The National Coordinator of the group, Obed Okwukwe, while speaking during a press conference claimed that Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

“We say it categorically that the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain that matter that has been presented before it by some state Attorney General. We the CSOs are rejecting it.

“It is a plot to open bank vaults to enable vote buyers and holders of illicit wealth to have cash to buy votes. We urge the CJN to hurriedly vacate the Ex-parte order in the overall interest of the Nigerian election,” Okwukwe said.

Meanwhile, the Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming Presidential election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu hailed the Supreme Court and APC Governors for the ruling.

Tinubu said, the Governors especially APC Governors who instituted the suit against the CBN and Federal Government at the Supreme Court acted well on behalf of the hapless Nigerians who have been made to bear the brunt of Naira redesign policy that has been poorly implemented.

Tinubu noted that “the governors have saved the country from a needless political and economic crises and miseries which have clearly become the unintended consequences of the monetary policy of the apex bank”.

The APC leader turned candidate said, the Supreme Court ruling coincided with the advisory of the International Monetary Fund urging for the extension of the deadline for the swap of the old naira notes, going by the problems being experienced across the country in getting the new notes.

“I want to salute the courage of our Governors and most especially the Progressives Governors in APC who acted to save our country from avoidable and dangerous political crises and social unrest which the Central Bank policy on new Naira notes has brought on our country.

“Our country was dangerously careering toward anarchy and political and economic shutdown. But with the Supreme Court interim ruling our country has been pulled back from the precipice.

Protest at the CBN Headquarters, Abuja.

“We thank our Supreme Court Justices for ruling wisely on the side of the people who have been subjected to undue agony and pains since this policy was announced.

“The Federal Government and relevant stakeholders can now sit down and work out better framework on how to proceed with the new policy without causing any social and economic disruption and inconvenience to our people.

“We have examples of other countries that have successfully and seamlessly changed their currencies to learn from.

“Those countries give a long time, at least 12 months to effect the currency change. They do not engage in CBN-like Fire Brigade approach.

“We have seen how a good policy can be poorly implemented to cause unintended problems for the people who should be the beneficiaries. While lessons have been learnt, we must now move on as a country and people with a Renewed Hope for a better tomorrow.

“The sole aim of my running to be the president of our country is to make life better and more abundant for our people and this is an ideal for which I will remain eternally committed to,” he said.

In a related development, the IMF advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to extend the February 10 deadline for the validity of three old naira notes if citizens continue to find it difficult to get the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

IMF Resident Representative in Nigeria, Ari Aisen in a statement, said, “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline.”



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