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Naira Redesign: Falana slams CBN, urges government to prosecute Emefiele, Management over cash scarcity

Photo Collage of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, suspended Governor of CBN and Redesigned Naira Notes

*Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, petitions the Federal Government to prosecute Godwin Emefiele, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Bank Management for allegedly deceiving consumers on cash availability over the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For purportedly deceiving Nigerian consumers on cash availability early this year, Mr. Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and  Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has petitioned the Federal Government to prosecute Mr. Godwin Emefiele, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Management of the banking sector regulator.

Falana, who made the request in a statement titled, “CBN Mopped Up N3.5 Trillion But Disbursed  N402 Billion Only”, issued Sunday, September 18, 2023, claimed that Emefiele and the CBN lied to consumers over the availability of cash with the redesign of the national currency 2022.

He wrote in the statement that “in January 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria claimed that it had supplied the commercial banks in the country with enough cash in line with its currency design policy.”

ConsumerConnect reports the Bankers’ Bank October last year initiated, redesigned, produced and distributed new N200, N500 abd N1000 notes for circulation in the West African country’s economy from November 2022.

The Lagos lawyer said in the statement: “Having misled Nigerians to believe that sufficient cash was distributed to commercial banks to replace the sum of N3.5 trillion mopped up from customers, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the entire management of the CBN ought to be prosecuted for incitement and culpable homicide.”

Effects of Naira scarcity on individuals, businesses and public property

In respect of the overwhelming impacts of the Naira scarcity at the time, he noted the “apex bank purportedly directed security agencies to arrest and prosecute bank officials who were accused of sabotaging the new currency policy.”

According to Falana, “based on the (CBN’s) statement, Nigerians trooped to the banks to collect cash. As the cash was insufficient, customers became angry.

The mass anger over the cash crunch provoked customers who burnt bank buildings and destroyed Automated Teller Machines in some states.”

The prominent lawyer also  recalled: “the violence, paralysed social and economic activities, and claimed not less than five lives while many others were injured.

“But for the Supreme Court, which extended the deadline for the withdrawal of the old Naira notes up until December 31, 2023, the cash crunch would have made life more unbearable for the Nigerian people.”

The human rights lawyer stated he, therefore, wants the CBN to rebuild the bank buildings that were destroyed by angry consumers of financial products and services in the aftermath of the cash crunch occasioned by the redesign policy across Nigeria.

He further requested the Bank to compensate families of those who were killed due to the incitement of the public against the hardship occasioned by cash crunch early this year.

“In addition, the CBN should rebuild the bank buildings that were destroyed and pay compensation to the families of those who were killed as a result of the incitement of members of the public,” Falana said in the statement.

In line with Falana’s argument, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Limited, recently disclosed that the redesigned the three Nation denominations abd supplied only N400billion while it retrieved about N3 .5trillion from circulation, thereby inducing untold hardships among the Nigerian populace, especially in the first quarter of this year.

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