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New Naira: Opposition using court order against government’s relief measures for Nigerians –Minister

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture

*The Federal Government alleges the ‘unscrupulous’ opposition politicians have ‘legally hamstrung’ President Muhammadu Buhari from providing any relief to Nigerian consumers on the scarcity of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes by Friday, February 10

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As scarcity of the new Naira notes bites harder in the economy, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, has said the opposition parties have legally bound President Muhammadu Buhari from extending the fresh February 10 deadline for validity of the three newly redesigned Naira notes.

The Minister said “unscrupulous” opposition politicians had “legally hamstrung” the President from providing any relief to Nigerians on the scarcity of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.

Redesigned Naira notes

Mohammed stated this at the 23rd Edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard in Abuja, FCT.

According to him, the opposition parties have turned the scarcity of new Naira notes to a political game, “preferring to make Nigerians suffer more on the altar of unconscionable political gamesmanship”.

The tension over the February 10 deadline for the validity of three old Naira notes assumed another dimension  Monday as five political parties and three state governments began legal battles over the matter.

The Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara Governments dragged the Federal Government before the Supreme Court, seeking an extension to the February 10 deadline.

Court ruling against CBN’s ongoing relief measures on redesigned Naira for consumers 

However, five political parties took the same matter to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, and secured an order barring the Federal Government and the CBN from any extension of the deadline.

It is recalled that the Bankers’ Bank October 26, 2022, had announced the plan to redesign the three Naira denominations.

The President unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes November 23, 2022, and the CBN fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

Sequel to barrage of complaints by several Nigerians, the CBN extended the deadline from January 31 to February 10.

The Bank explained that it received the approval of President Buhari.

Subsequently, Buhari last Friday after a meeting with some APC governors, requested seven days to make a major decision on the Naira policy.

The Minister also noted that after the President’s meeting with the Progressives’ Governors  Friday, he urged citizens to give him a seven-day window to resolve the currency crunch that has emanated from the implementation of the Naira redesign policy.

Mohammed stated: “Unfortunately, on Monday (yesterday), some opposition political parties ran to court to obtain an injunction restraining Mr. President and the CBN from extending the February 10 deadline for Nigerians to exchange their old notes for new ones.

“The court action came after a number of opposition parties threatened to boycott the 2023 General Elections if the deadline was extended.”

He further said: “These curious actions by the parties concerned are clear evidence that the opposition has turned this whole issue into a political game, preferring to make Nigerians suffer more on the altar of an unconscionable political gamesmanship.

“Or how else can one explain the fact that these unscrupulous opposition parties do not want any action that could reduce the pains being experienced by Nigerians?”

He said: “How else can one explain the fact that they have decided to legally hamstring Mr. President, in particular, from providing any relief for Nigerians suffering from the cash crunch?

“It is bad politics when you put the interest of desperate political parties over and above that of Nigerians, the same Nigerians whose votes you earnestly seek.”

The Minister,  however, said despite the “bad politicking” by the opposition parties, the Federal Government is willing and able to take decisive steps to bring succour to Nigerians in the shortest possible time.

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