Atiku blames Tinubu for new notes shortage; Nigerians need cash now – Osinbajo laments naira scarcity | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Atiku blames Tinubu for new notes shortage
  • APC supporters clash at national secretariat
  • We have no plans to extend Feb 10 deadline for old naira notes – CBN
  • Tension in Delta as protests rock Warri
  • Nigerians need cash now – Osinbajo laments naira scarcity

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

Atiku blames Tinubu for new notes shortage

The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organization has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC), Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the one behind naira scarcity.

Atiku’s campaign also described Tinubu as the real enemy of Nigerians insisting that “Tinubu is the mastermind of the new naira notes crunch who had made the people suffer untold hardship ever known in our national history”.

In a statement by one of its spokespersons, Kola Ologbondiyan, Friday, the Aitku Campaign alleged that Tinubu has been involved in a high-level criminal racket by sabotaging the system, intercepting and diverting millions of new naira notes meant for distribution to Nigerians for his selfish.

The statement read “It is indeed despicable that Tinubu, knowing that he has been exposed of being criminally responsible for the biting cash crunch on Nigerians, is seeking to divert public attention from his heinous crime by criticizing Atiku Abubakar’s widely applauded patriotic call for the extension of currency swap deadline

“Our campaign challenges the APC Presidential Candidate to come clean on allegations that he has been using his various criminal Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Companies as well as fraudulent officials in some APC-led States to intercept and mop up cash to the detriment of millions of Nigerians.

“In the desperation to cover his tracks, Tinubu, in his elements, as the Nigerian “Artful Dodger”, has mounted a campaign of calumny against the Federal Government on the scarcity of the naira while secretly intercepting and diverting the notes for his selfish use.

“It is despicable that the Tinubu Campaign will be engaged in the activities that are responsible for the scarcity of the naira, for which Nigerians are suffering untold distress, yet he mounts the soap box to create the impression that he is the champion of the people.

“It is also worrisome that the person claiming to be concerned about the plight of Nigerians is the one responsible for their woes and at the same time urging them towards insurrection.

“In any case, we are not surprised that the APC presidential Candidate can engage in such alleged shady activities against Nigerians given his reputation as a “bullion van” politician as well as a long record of alleged frauds, including reported looting of Lagos assets as well as trafficking in narcotic for which he was convicted and made to forfeit the sum of $460,000 to the United States.

“Our campaign urges Tinubu to own up to the frustration that Nigerians are presently confronting and stop shedding his usual crocodile tears.

“Moreover, it is clear that the Tinubu Campaign has taken to this despicable route in its desperation to incite Nigerians, trigger crisis, and position Tinubu as the liberator.

“Nigerians are not unaware that Tinubu has bluntly refused to advise this administration on the negatives of its policies just because he (Tinubu) wanted it to fail to enable him to appear as a messiah.

“It is absurd that Tinubu prioritized his ambition above the wellbeing of over 200 million Nigerians on behalf of whom Atiku Abubakar appealed to the Federal Government to ameliorate the situation and ensure that the new naira notes are made available to the people.

“Nigerians have only but pity for the APC Presidential Candidate as all his machinations to malign Atiku Abubakar had always failed in the face of the truth”.

The campaign organizations charged Tinubu to immediately make confessions, offer restitution, and ask for forgiveness from Nigerians.

APC supporters clash at national secretariat

On Friday, demonstrators and supporters of Nasiru Ladan, the director general of the Amalgamated APC Support Group (AASG), battled outside the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to accounts, the melee occurred between party members opposed to Nasiru, whom they accused of conducting a one-man show and his followers.

According to reports, peaceful protestors gathered at the secretariat in the early hours of Friday to voice their unhappiness with Ladan’s leadership style. However, the conflict between the group and loyalists of the DG quickly deteriorated, sending visitors and personnel fleeing for safety.

The situation deteriorated into a fierce conflict in which both sides freely employed deadly weapons, resulting in the use of at least 60 teargas canisters by the security forces on the ground to disperse the demonstrators and restore order within the secretariat.

According to a witness, “The protest was against the DG of the Almagamated APC Support Groups. The peaceful protesters that first arrived at the secretariat in the early hours accused him of “eating alone” without carrying others along. They had wanted to register their disappointment over Ladan’s leadership style before the party’s national leadership and end it there.

“But, before you could say, Jack Robinson, the DG, and his loyalists mobilised other boys to counter the peaceful protest. And [in] the twinkle of an eye, everywhere became rowdy forcing few of us to scamper for safety.

“Several canisters of teargas were used to disperse them and restore sanity to the secretariat. It was a scary situation really.”

We have no plans to extend Feb 10 deadline for old naira notes – CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is not planning to extend the deadline for the use of old naira notes.

Speaking during a briefing on Friday at the apex bank’s office in Lagos, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, said the CBN, as well as deposit money banks (DMBs) were working to address the current challenges with the circulation of the new currency notes.

The CBN had issued a deadline of January 31 for the use of the old naira notes, but it was recently extended to February 10.

However, in hopes for another extension, several stakeholders have continued to criticise the currency redesign policy on grounds that it is subjecting Nigerians to hardship due to the widespread scarcity of the new notes.

Speaking on the issue, Emefiele said after the 10-day grace period, the bank is not considering an extension of the deadline.

“I want to say unfortunately again, this time, we will not be looking at extension of deadline because we are the central bank and the deposit money banks are doing everything to address the challenges,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to be patient, noting that the policy’s benefits outweigh its initial downsides.

The CBN governor also said the naira redesign policy is not aimed at anyone in particular, emphasising that it is aimed at economic growth.

“We are doing our work. We are bankers. Those holding protest should not allow themselves to be used,” he added.

Meanwhile, as part of new measures to accelerate the circulation of new naira notes, Emefiele said the apex bank will extend cash swaps to microfinance banks and engage 30,000 super agents in the hinterlands.

Tension in Delta as protests rock Warri

Warri, Delta State, was tense as protesters shook the city, prompting banks to cease operations immediately.

The demonstrators surrounded the entrances of the United Bank for Africa and Union Bank for Africa near the Main Market in Warri, Nigeria, while burning tyres along the constantly congested roadways to express their anger and cause significant traffic.

Protesters, primarily market women, youths, and elders, had barricaded key roadways in opposition to the hardships created by the paucity of fresh naira notes and the increase in petrol prices.

The Warri-Sapele Road and the NPA Expressway were two of the blocked roadways. The demonstrators marched to Delta State Rainbow Television in Edjeba to lodge their complaints.

The demonstrators, who carried placards and chanted “our fish dey perish, our food dey rot,” said that it was impossible for them to withdraw money from their bank accounts.

They said that they had been unable to sell their items in recent days due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s paperless policy and the paucity of the redesigned naira notes.

Nigerians need cash now – Osinbajo laments naira scarcity

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has expressed concern over the difficulty experienced by Nigerians in getting the new naira notes.

The VP on Friday in Abuja met with some players in the FinTech space to explore possible ways of mitigating the hardship.

Osinbajo urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks to deploy more FinTechs and money agents to the hinterlands to address the worrying situation.

The Vice President stated that Nigerians need cash to pay for transport, food, and other needs.

“In Abuja how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buy recharge cards?

“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things”, he said.

Osinbajo said it was disturbing that after depositing old notes, there are no new notes: “People everywhere in the urban areas and rural areas simply have no money.”

The nation’s second-in-command observed some FinTechs have mobile money licenses and should be engaged immediately.

He said many of them have micro-finance bank licenses and already have a network of mobile money agents or human banks or human ATMs, as they are sometimes.

“They can supervise by themselves. They can do currency swaps and open bank accounts.”

Also on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari met with some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at the Presidential Villa over the Naira scarcity.

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