Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to tell Nigerians where the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is at the moment physically and for many weeks after the Chief banking regulator Godwin Emefiele travelled to the United States of America with the President to attend the USA/AFRICAN Summit.
In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the Rights group alleged that the physical absence from public view of the CBN Governor has caused catastrophic and organised confusion with the implementation of the re-designing of the Naira Notes by deposit banks that have continued to sell the new notes in the blavk markets and failing to pay depositors.
According to HURIWA:” since the rumour mills got saturated of a plot to arrest the governor of CBN by the DSS and several media reports emanated about legal discord purportedly between the CBN Governor and the DSS, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwin Emefiele ‘disappeared’ from public views.
HURIWA lamented that the instructions that have emanated from the Central Bank to deposit banks to saturate their ATM machines with the re-designed Naira notes to Nigerians can get hold of these new notes that became legal tender in December 15th 2022 have been largely violated and treated with ignominy by the banks most probably because of the perceived physically absence of the Governor of CBN Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
HURIWA said that the chaos going on in the banking sector because of the absence of the CBN governor from Nigeria or so it seems could precipitate monumental public protests if the Central Banks fails to either adjust the deadline for the expiration of the former Naira notes with about three months or continues to refuse to saturate the Country’s financial sector with the re-designed notes.
The Rights group said Nigeria is about the only Country globally whereby the whereabouts of the Central Bank governor is not publicly accounted for just as the Rights group wondered why the President has kept silent about the clear absence of the CBN governor and the confusion, chaos and anarchy that this choreographed physical absence of the CBN governor has created.
HURIWA said it is shocking that at a time the governor of CBN should lead from the front physically in carrying out advocacy campaigns on the re-designing of the Naira Notes, the CBN Governor has rather ‘disappeared’ like a village masquerade that appears only during New yam festivals.
HURIWA said the absence is definitely worrisome given the groundswell of social and economic implications of his physical absence and the non-compliance to any sort of instructions coming from the CBN just as the group asked that an acting governor of CBN be appointed to avoid the void if the current holder has gone on absent without leave.
HURIWA recalled that last year’s October the Central Bank of Nigeria through the governor said it has redesigned all major naira notes and will by December 2022 start circulating them. The affected denominations are N100, N200, N500, and N1000.
HURIWA recalled too that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced this at a press briefing even as he had in October last year said the notes were redesigned following a request from the federal government.
HURIWA quoted the media as quoting the CBN governor to have said as follows last year’s October: “The last time the bank redesigned the naira was in 2014 when it changed the design of the 100 naira note to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary.
“Although global best practice is for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every 5–8 years, the Naira has not been redesigned in the last 20 years.
“On the basis of these trends, problems, and facts, and in line with Sections 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, the Management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N100, N200, N500, and N1,000 levels.” According to the governor, the CBN has finalised arrangements for the new currency to begin circulation from December 15, 2022. He said the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023 when the existing currencies shall cease to be legal tender.