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Naira Redesign: Apology insufficient, Buhari must compensate Nigerians, says NYCN

*The National Youth Council of Nigeria urges the Federal Government to  compensate individuals, families, and corporate organisations that have suffered losses during the recent new Naira scarcity crises across the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the reported socio-economic dislocations induced by implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Naira redesign policy and cash swap, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has said beyond apology, President Muhammadu Buhari must compensate individuals, families and corporate entities that have suffered losses during recent crises.

The group noted that implementation of the Naira Redesign policy of the CBN apparently affected several millions of the citizenry.

Comrade Dotun Omoleye, National Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NYCN, said this in a statement issued Monday, March 6, 2023, in Lagos.

Omoleye described the apology President Buhari earlier offered March 2, in Kaduna, over the implementation of the Naira redesign policy as insufficient.

It is recalled that Buhari during the weekend apologised to Nigerian consumers over the cash crunch caused by the Naira redesign policy of the Federal Government.

The President said: “I apologise to you for the hardship caused by the change of the Naira.

“It was done to boost the economy of the country, not to cause hardship to anybody.”

Omoleye, however, viewed the apology as falling short of the irredeemable damage the policy had already caused different categories of Nigerians.

The Spokesperson of NYCN particularly, mentioned those that lost their lives during protests, those whose property or businesses were destroyed; businesses that have been grounded for paucity of Naira and abysmal functioning of alternative transaction models, and unbearable pains Nigerians have been compelled to live with due to the Naira notes scarcity.

He stated: “The unilateral recourse to enforce an unpopular and ill-timed policy with its sadistic implementation by the CBN and commercial banks at this sensitive period without altruistic consideration for the poor is not only insensitive but oppressive on the part of the Federal Government.

“Need one remind the Government and its enforcing agencies, that since its full implementation, the policy has brought gruelling consequences leading to loss of lives in states like Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Oyo, Ondo and few others where lives were lost and properties also destroyed.”

Omoleye also noted: The President’s apology cannot be enough when the youths, women, and men who were being begged to vote have been pauperised, and are subjected to untold agonies from scarcity of the Naira and its devastations on families and businesses.”

Omoleye urged Buhari to immediately identify individuals, families, as well as other businesses and organisations, including banks that have suffered losses during the protests for compensation.

He further stated: “The President must take further steps beyond apologising to Nigerians when a policy engendered by an agency of government provoked hardship and regrettable backlash like this.

“It must be the responsibility of government to step in to mitigate its impacts by compensating the victims and in this case, majority of Nigerians.”

The youth leader said only such compensation can assist victims to have the slightest chance of restoration, and offer hope to the poor and downtrodden affected by the policy to stand on their feet again.

Commendation for Supreme Court for ruling on old Naira notes

Similarly, the NYCN Spokesman commended the Supreme Court on last Friday’s ruling, nullifying the February 10 deadline for the use of old N200, N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender in the economy.

The apex appellate court had ruled that the old Naira notes remained legal tender, and would be in circulation till December 31, 2023.

The court also declared the CBN policy as an affront to the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The Supreme Court as well held that the President, in his broadcast  February, affirmed that the policy is flawed with a lot of challenges.

The apex court also said that the unconstitutional use of powers by President Buhari on Naira Re-designing has breached the fundamental rights of the Nigerian citizens in various ways.

Omoleye said the Supreme Court by the ruling had affirmed that it could retain the hope of the downtrodden during the helpless period.

The judgement further boosts the confidence in the Judiciary as the defender of the common citizens, said he.

Comrade Omoleye added: “We now demand the immediate and full compliance by the Federal Government and the CBN with the Supreme Court’s order without further delay.

“We also ask for recirculation of old and new Naira notes simultaneously for immediate use by Nigerians ahead of the December 31, 2023 terminal date lawfully set by the nation’s highest court.”

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