People & Money

Naira Redesign Chaos Worsens as Protests Hit Lagos, Ibadan

Less than 5 days to the deadline for the old Naira notes being legal tender, the scarcity of the new Naira notes remains. The naira scarcity, which has severely impacted economic activities, has generated widespread discontent among the population and led to protests in Lagos and recently in Ibadan over the past weekend, resulting in two fatalities and numerous injuries.

In a dramatic turn of events, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Ajuri Ngelale in an interview with TVC noted that the implementation of the Naira redesign has been faulty “to say the least.” He also noted that the President was receiving false intelligence from the Central Bank. 

“What we are working to do is to ensure that Mr. President is given effective and true information. [That] the reports that had been given by the Central Bank of Nigeria that they had adequately supplied all banking branches in the country with sufficient amounts of the new Naira notes, this is absolutely false.” Ngelale noted. 

Before the deadline for exchanging old naira notes was extended from January 31st to February 10th, the President supported the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in using unconventional economic models that prioritize people in the bank’s policies. Mr. Ajuri Ngelale, however, said that the President was responsible for shifting the deadline to February 10 as a result of false information the President received from the CBN.

“Mr. President, being the pro-people defender and defender of the masses that he has always been and an upholder of social justice, did the right thing when intelligence reached him that he was getting false intelligence from the CBN, which was to extend the deadline from January 31 to February 10.” He noted. 

Also Read: The Fuel Scarcity and New Naira Notes Racket: Dismantling Suffernomics 

Due to the naira redesign and the implementation of the CBN’s updated cashless policy, the scarcity of both the old and newly designed naira notes at all outlets, including banks, ATMs, and POS terminal operators nationwide, has caused significant difficulties for many Nigerians, making it difficult for them to access cash for basic needs or transportation. And in protest to the current condition, a protest erupted in the Marina area of Lagos State. A group, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Good Governance (CCSGG) moved around banks located in Marina, where major bank headquarters in Nigeria are domiciled.

On Friday, the protest hit Ibadan, more violently, as the Wema Bank branch at Iwo Road in Ibadan was looted and attacked. The protests in Ibadan continued till Saturday in the Apata area of Ibadan. The Saturday protest was more violent as the protest degenerated into a clash between the Police and the protesters leading to two individuals being fatally shot by the Police. 

Governors Visit the President

In response to the new Naira policy, the APC governors under the auspices of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) paid a visit to President Buhari at the Aso Villa on Friday, the 3rd of January. While most of the governors declined to speak to pressmen after the visit, Umar Ganduje, the Kano State governor gave pressmen feedback. 

According to Ganduje, the governors’ request was for the old and new currency to go alongside each other until the old currency “dies a natural death”. He mentioned that the President stated he would examine their requests. 

EFCC, ICPC, and Police Involved 

Ajuri Ngelale reported that the EFCC and ICPC have intervened in the matter to oversee the distribution of the new naira notes. In his TVC interview, he noted, 

“Now, clearly, with the adjustments in the deadline, it was also announced that other agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission are also actively involved in the oversight of the distribution of the new naira notes to banking branches across the country as well as rural areas with cash swops with the over 30,000 super agents that are being sent out.

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“So, there is an extra level of oversight and monitoring that is being done now and added to the process.”

Then in line with reports that certain individuals were selling the new Naira notes, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, issued an order for the arrest and prosecution of individuals who are selling the new naira notes released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

The statement signed by the Spokesman of the Police, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi contained;

“The IGP has similarly charged all supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of Police Commands and Formations to carry out full enforcement of the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 which criminalizes amongst other things the hawking, selling or otherwise trading, spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira notes, falsifying or counterfeiting of bank notes, refusal to accept the Naira as a means of payment, tampering with the coin or note issued by the CBN.”

David Olujinmi

David Olujinmi studies Engineering but his true passion is research and analysis. He writes about finance, particularly the capital market, investment banking, and asset management. More »

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