Shehu Sani, Nwodo differ on currency swap policy
Civil rights activist and former Senator who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, has lampooned the Federal Government over its cash swap policy, saying thousands of Nigerians were facing excruciating hardship in accessing both the old and new notes to purchase essential commodities and also transact businesses.
In the contrary, the immediate past President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and former Minister of Information, Chief John Nwodo, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the policy, saying it has mopped up excess money in circulation that election riggers could have used to buy votes.
Sani, in a statement in Kaduna yesterday said, “the redesigning of the national currency and the cash withdrawal policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was an economic disaster and a poisonous idea aimed at unleashing hardships on the masses of Nigerians.”
According to him, the CBN has become a political institution and a home for serpentine and delirious economic ideas.
“Nigeria is a developing country. Our economic experiments must take cognisance of the economic status of our people. If the Buhari administration really wants to target the few corrupt, it doesn’t have to wait this long and it doesn’t have to punish the poor. Emefiele set a forest on fire in the name of catching a few rats,” he added.
Sani explained that, “the CBN under Emefiele has become a shrine for misery and a breeding ground for penury”, adding, “it has become a republic within a republic.”
He queried: “Why didn’t the Buhari administration introduce the change of currency in 2019 and waited until 2023 if the CBN policy is about curbing vote buying?”
“Nigeria has been turned into a vast refugee camp where people queue for cash ration.”
Nigerians have been subjected to the multiple tragedies of struggling for money, searching for money, looking for money and scratching for money.
“Nigerians used to buy dollars at the black market, now they are also buying naira at the black market. The Ahmed Lawan-led Senate has failed to checkmate the excesses and autocracy of the CBN because the leadership is in bed with it. The House of Representatives has a clear and principled position on the matter. The next CBN Governor must not be a politician, a puppet or a priest of poverty.”
Speaking at an extraordinary meeting organised by the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) comprising, the Middle Belt forum, Afenifere, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nwodo said whatever wrong the President had committed in the past, his stand on the naira re-design policy has vindicated him.
He said: “I want to congratulate President Buhari on the current policy in ensuring that this election is not monetised. What is going on in the country now is the change of currency. It is limiting squandermania. Election is no longer a bazaar in which you buy the conscience of our people by sharing ill-gotten wealth among them. It is now a task of using your bait to determine your fish. Whatever wrong the head of state has done in the past this one has vindicated him. I salute him,” he said.