Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Maureen Okpe

In lieu of the hardship created by the scarcity of the new naira notes, resulting from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cash policy, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre(CISLAC), and a coalition of other 38 Civil Society Organisations(CSOs), have charged the Federal Government to obey the Supreme Court pronouncement on the Naira swap policy.

The coalition made the call on Monday, in Abuja at a press conference titled ‘State of the Nation’ which Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, Jaye Gaskia, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi and others in their address expressed concerns over the deepening hardship Nigerians are going through with the Naira crisis.

They condemned the poor process of implementation resulting in avoidable scarcity of the redesigned denominations of the currency notes, stating that, the opportunistic hoarding and diversions by banks, profiteering practices by PoS operators, and filling stations has denied citizens of access to their own funds to meet basic needs of food and health.

The coalition call on the federal government to make concerted efforts to stem the tide of sufferings and the growing agitations of the poor masses caused by the policy, adding the principles of separation of power must be respected and executed.
“There are disturbing signals from the posture of the Federal Government seem to suggest that Nigeria has a long way to go to combat the destructive culture of impunity.

“It is shocking that despite the provision of separation of powers in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to treat the opinions of the legislature in various resolutions of national importance with disdain.

“To make matters worse, the Federal Government has outright refused to, and even countermand the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the deadline for the status of the old denominations of the Naira as legal tender.

“Although the purveyors of the Naira redesign policy and its precipitate implementation continue to point to the intended aim of curbing vote buying in the upcoming general elections, it is quite obvious from unfolding events in the country that the primary outcome of the implementation of the exercise is imposing avoidable and unnecessary hardships on the citizens across the country.

“The consequence of this is that the overwhelming majority of ordinary citizens, have now found themselves in a position of fiscal paralysis, with no access to cash, and without the ability to undertake unhindered transactions through digital platforms.

“We call on the executive branch of government, in particular the presidency and the CBN, to retrace their steps and immediately abide with the extant ruling and pronouncement of the Supreme Court on this matter.

“We call on the Presidency to uphold the rule of law, and not to take any steps that will further undermine the system of separation of powers between the branches of government. In this respect, we call for anyone who is implicated in disobeying the ruling of the Supreme Court to face appropriate consequences in accordance with our constitution.

The group also condemned the crackdown of protesters who are expressing their pain over the scarcity of the Naira, as it infringes on their rights as citizens who are out to make their government know the hardship they are passing through.

However, the CSOs said citizens who embark on acts of destroying private and public property are taking laws into their hands which is unacceptable.

“To safeguard our democracy, and protect the working and living conditions of our people, we make the following demands: The Federal Government must quickly put in place all measures to ensure that the suffering of the Nigerian people caused by the poor thinking and inefficiencies in the implementation of the Naira redesign exercise are eliminated.

“Citizens and businesses must have unfettered access to their money – access to cash, ability to undertake unhindered transactions through both non-digital and digital platforms – without further stress to meet their obligations to their families/dependents and businesses to enable them to live with less stress in an environment where citizens are reeling from the effects of contrived fuel scarcity, insecurity of endemic proportions and galloping inflation.

“It must also, in particular, make the lower denominations of the Naira available for the operations and convenience of citizens in the informal sector and small business operators who, by acts of omission of the FGN and CBN, have become the primary victims of the assumed well-intended Naira redesign exercise.

“The legitimate anger and concerns of ordinary citizens as the major victims of the ill-prepared and rushed implementation of the anti-people policy, must be respected; their rights to protest must be protected, and their legitimate anger must not be met with repression.

“In this respect, we condemn the repression of protests, call for its cessation, and for the prosecution of security personnel who have brutalized, shot at, and or harassed citizens in the course of the unfolding protests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *