By Bola Badmus – Lagos
The pan-Yoruban socio-political group Afenifere has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of giving Nigerians a seven-day request to allow him to address problems related to the country’s cash crunch, claiming that the period he is asking for is too long.
In a statement issued by his spokesman Garba Shehu after meeting with members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) in the state assembly on Friday, President Buhari said he would do so “in one way or another” during the G7. Figure out the number of days still in place for the new deadline to decide on currency conversions.
The governors met the president, told him that Nigerians were going through excruciating pain as they tried to withdraw money from banks and exchange expiring naira notes for new ones, begging him to reconsider his position.
Recall that last October, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) redesigned the N1,000, N500 and N200 banknotes and stated that the deadline for replacing old banknotes with new ones was 31 January 2023 but had to extend the deadline to February 10, 2023.
Afenifare expressed this position on Saturday in a statement signed by its spokesman, Comrade Jare Ajayi, a microcopy of which was provided to journalists, further announcing that the seven (7) days requested by Mr. Do not understand the immense pain that Nigerians go through to get cash from bank accounts across the country.”
While stating its position on the issue, the Pan-Yoruban socio-political group regretted the loss of several lives and the severe paralysis of social and economic activities.
“For the country to wait another 7 days is to say that people can continue to suffer. Lives may continue to be lost, businesses may continue to be paralyzed,” Afenifere said.
Afenifere further stated that at the time of this statement, there was no indication that President Buhari was prepared to “act swiftly”, prompting President Buhari to “act swiftly as Nigerians’ lives and the economy are seriously threatened” due to difficulties in accessing cash and fuel. while in danger. “
The group recalled that the president spent about six months in his first term building his cabinet, and that, as it put it, “his administration seemed to have a reputation for dawdling where decisive steps needed to be taken — — This situation has led some to call the President a “Baba Go-Slow! “
“The Nigerian outcry forced CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to get permission from President Buhari last Sunday to extend the deadline until February 10, 2023. But even so, Nigerians found It’s hard to get not just new notes, but even old notes from their banks and the various financial institutions that handle cash.
“The situation has become so critical that people in some cities of the country staged protests. Last Friday, the protests resulted in the death of at least two people in Ibadan.
“Bank customers narrate unpleasant experiences. As an example, a customer wanted to withdraw N40,000 but was told he could withdraw up to N4,000! CBN gave a ridiculous instruction last week that the amount anyone could withdraw per day It must not exceed N20,000,” the Pan Yoruba organization said.
“Emotions among Nigerians are predictably high due to frustration. Tensions are high in Ibadan, Benin, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Bauchi, Lagos and more. 75% of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system”, and yet it happened.
The spokesperson then called on Bank officials and others to disrupt the system to stop “because there are good and bad”, noting that the statement was reported by a number of commercial banks in Port Harcourt, Bauchi, Lagos and more published in the background. Others hoarded the new currency while their officials refused to load the notes into automated teller machines (ATMs).
He therefore urged President Buhari to step up and instruct the CBN to flood the banks with fresh notes and allow old and new notes to continue to circulate for at least the next three months.