By Uche Amunike
To the clear cut instruction given by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to release only the old N200 denomination into circulation, in order to co-exist with the redesigned 200,500 and 1000 notes and used as legal tender till Monday, April 10, 2023, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, Thursday, directly challenged it, asking residents in the state to continue to accept every denomination of the Nigerian Naira note as legal tender in the state.
Speaking, during a state broadcast, Thursday night, Governor El-Rufai described the Naira redesign policy as a ploy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and close allies of President Buhari to stop the APC presidential candidate, Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu, from winning the election on February 25, 2023.
He also described the redesign of the Nigerian Naira notes as a mindless one, seeing as it had caused severe hardship for the innocent citizens of Nigeria, nationwide and made so many businesses come to a standstill.
Hear him: ‘The sad fact is that the victims of these mindless policies are the people that elected us. It is their welfare that is being threatened. Many of our people have been left in a situation where the money they put in banks has literally been confiscated, depriving them of the ability to buy food and basic necessities. Our traders cannot sell as much as they used to because their customers have no access to their hard-earned money.’
According to him, President Buhari was deceived into accepting the policy to redesign the Nigerian Naira notes, because the CBN gave him the impression that it would help check politicians who stacked away huge amounts of cash for vote buying during the polls, maintaining that it was the aggrieved members of the APC who lost out at the party’s primaries that are desperate to frustrate, not just the party, but its candidates.
He reiterated: ‘It is important for the people of Kaduna State, and indeed Nigeria, to know that contrary to the public pronouncements and apparent good intentions, this policy was conceived and sold to the President by officials who completely lost out in the Gubernatorial and Presidential Primaries of the APC in June 2022.’
‘Once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest.’
He went on to give the order that residents of Kaduna State should continue to accept every denomination of the old Nigerian Naira notes as legal tender without any fear, pending when the Supreme Court gives a different verdict.
His words: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, all the old and new notes shall remain in use as legal tender in Kaduna State until the Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise.’
‘I, therefore, appeal to all residents of Kaduna State to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear. The Kaduna State Government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners. If need be, we shall take further consequential actions according to the law.’