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IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (L) and Former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain and wife of the late Igbo leader (Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu), Mrs Bianca Ojukwu (R)

● Wishes Ikemba were alive to speak for Ndigbo in 2023

Former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain and wife of the late Igbo leader, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, yesterday, said that the Igbo are missing her husband, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, at this critical moment in the nation’s history.

She said that the people of Southeast, in particular, lack strong, respected and selfless leaders who could speak for them now ahead of next year’s general elections.

Mrs Ojukwu who spoke at the 11th Ojukwu Memorial Day organised by the leader of BIM/MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, at the Ojukwu Memorial Library Arcade in Owerri, Imo State, said that there was system failure in Nigeria which has left the country as vast wasteland bearing no hope for the people.

She urged Ndigbo to be fully prepared to hold their leaders accountable in next year’s elections, admonishing that they must take actions that would guarantee their wellbeing and future.

Her words: “On a day like this, we remember what Dim Ojukwu did for Ndigbo. At periods like this, as we inch towards the 2023 elections, it dawns on us that we have deficit of leaders in Igbo land. We have people that lack trust and confidence.

“We had never witnessed the kind of brutal killings we are seeing in Igbo land in recent times, not even during and after the war. Why are we seeing this? It’s because the entirety of Igbo youths, and Nigeria have a Nigeria that is a premature resting place of their hopes and aspirations. They look around, they see vast wasteland; hopelessness. In the Southeast, there is no federal presence, no employment opportunities. There is total system failure, even culturally, many of our children cannot speak Igbo. We are suffering a system failure not just in economy, but in security. There is general insecurity. Even in agriculture, we can’t go to our farms because some strange people have occupied our farms.

“We remember Ojukwu today because he would have spoken for his people. Ojukwu would have demanded for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. It’s only in Nigeria that government would ignore court judgments ordering Kanu’s release. I hereby call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. I do so because no nation that holds its citizens hostage can have peace. No nation that also holds the future of its citizens to ransom can progress. As Igbo, it is in our genealogy to make progress, so, no one can hold us down.”

She, however, noted that Ojukwu had many children, but regretted that several of them are opportunistic sons.

The former envoy commended Uwazuruike for initiating and hosting the annual event in honour of Ojukwu, saying “APGA, the party Ojukwu strived to build, could not host memorial for him, yet a single person has instituted this and also built a gigantic Ojukwu Library in his honour.”

She pointed out that the memorial was not just for Ojukwu, but for all the persons who lost their lives in the civil war.

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Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, on Tuesday, condemned the killing of 16 Nigerians travelling in Burkina Faso as unjustifiable, callous and criminal.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, condemned the killing in a statement signed by the Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit, NiDCOM, Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun in Abuja.

The NiDCOM chair called on the Burkinabe authorities to fish out the perpetrators and prosecute them accordingly.

Dabiri-Erewa, who reiterated the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)’s resolve to ensure “appropriate sanction” through diplomacy to those who were involved in the wicked killing, said it was a condemnable and barbaric act.

The NIDCOM boss joined others in condoling the families and friends of the deceased and prayed for the safety of other stranded Nigerians in the country.

“To those who were unjustifiably killed, especially as they were on a spiritual pilgrimage, may Allah accept them into His martyrdom and quicken the pace of recovery of those injured survivors,” she prayed.

According to the statement, the commission recalls that some Muslim pilgrims, including 16 Nigerians, were allegedly shot and killed by Burkinabe soldiers on patrol.

At a news conference on Sunday in Abuja, the Jam’iyyatu Ansariddeen Attijaniyya of Nigeria revealed that 16 of its members were shot dead by the Burkinabe soldiers on patrol.

They were reportedly on their way to the home country of their leader, Sheikhul-Islam Ibrahim Niasse, in Senegal when they met their untimely death.

The national secretary of the Islamic group, Sayyidi Yahaya, said the Ansaruddeen members were “randomly selected and cold-bloodedly shot to death in a most horrendous display of bestiality” after being stopped by the Burkinabe soldiers.

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu meets with the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele at CBN headquarters in Abuja to discuss naira scarcity

With about 16 days to the general election, there are strong indications that the new naira notes scarcity may disrupt the exercise.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a meeting with the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele at the CBN headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday.

He explained that many service providers to INEC had no bank accounts.

He, therefore, solicited the support of the apex bank to address the concern related to the CBN cash withdrawal policy which had caused chaos across the country.

The apex bank had last year pegged weekly cash withdrawal limits set for individuals and corporate organisations to N500,000 and N5 million, respectively.

It also introduced the currency redesign policy which involves the issuance of new N1000, N500 and N200 notes last December.

But explaining his concern to the CBN chief, Yakubu said the service providers needed to be paid fully or partly, adding that there were fears about the withdrawal limits.

He said, “The Nigerian election is a huge and complex one. It requires the engagement of critical services and in line with the provisions of the exchange laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to their accounts.

‘’However, there are crucial areas such as transportation and human support services that have to be immediately enumerated, either partially or in full because services are rendered.

“In addition, emergency situations may arise requiring immediate cash payments. Some of the critical service providers are unbanked. Over the years we have worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks to pay for such services seamlessly during general elections, as well as off-cycle and by-elections.

‘’Over the years, the commission has migrated all its accounts at national and state levels to CBN and this arrangement has worked without hindrances to our activities.

“In view of the recent policy involving the redesigning of some denominations of our currencies and the limit on cash withdrawals and availability, we consider this meeting important in addressing some of our areas of concern with just 17 days to the 2023 general elections.

‘’We are confident that an aspect of this meeting will reduce the anxiety expressed by some of our service providers. We are determined to make the 2023 general election one of the best elections in Nigeria but we cannot do it alone. That is why the commission is mobilising every critical national institution for the success of the election.”

CBN allays fears

The CBN governor assured that cash would be made available for payment of the service providers and added that the apex bank would not allow itself to be used to frustrate the efforts of the electoral body.

Emefiele promised that the apex bank would do everything possible to support the 2023 election, stressing that it has never failed Nigerians.

He stated, “Now, just aside from the issue of storage of election materials and together with transportation of these election materials from CBN locations to your own specific or designated locations; where do you want these materials to be?

‘’I know that just a few months ago, I visited your office and you raised the issue of how foreign exchange can be procured for you to import your BVAS and other election materials that need to be imported. And I give you my word that foreign exchange will be provided for that purpose.

“I stand here or I sit here to confirm that today, not $1 is owed. All the dollars that are needed to import those items have been provided and those items have been imported.

“So, it is all part of our commitment. Now this issue of payment and logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials, even to visit wards; the assurance I give to you is that because we regarded the INEC project as a topmost or urgent national assignment, it cannot fail and the central bank would not allow itself either to be used or itself to be seen as an agent that frustrated a positive outcome of that election.’’

Emefiele said the CBN would provide the cash support with the electoral body needed to prosecute the poll.

‘’It is not just about cash and you have done electric electronic payments before and if in this case after making your electronic payments, you require some money to pay transporters, in this case, cash; the assurance I give to you is that we will make it available so it is nothing to worry about,’’ he said.

NSA on security

Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, has assured Nigerians of a secured voting atmosphere, saying the security personnel were well prepared ahead of the poll.

Speaking while hosting the INEC chairman on Tuesday, the NSA noted, “We had several meetings with the chairman of INEC, the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, which I co-chair. We know what we have done. We are sure of what we have on the ground.

“All of us here who are the managers of security in the electoral process know what we are doing. We are not in any way in doubt but we need to let the entire country know that agents of bad news are peddling all kinds of stories we see on social media. If these are intended to scare people, I want to dispel such illusions.

“Everybody that is concerned in carrying out his legitimate undertaking, casting his or her vote will do so in a secure atmosphere. It’s very important that Nigerians are not pushed to the limit where they will abandon their number one responsibility as citizens. All security agencies are up to the task.’’

On his part, the INEC chairman said the commission was confident that the recent security actions would further reassure voters, its officials, service providers and stakeholders of their safety during the election.

Yakubu appreciated the security assurances from the NSA and other security chiefs.

“We are aware that additional security has been deployed in our facilities nationwide. We also note the increasing tempo of activities in many troubled spots nationwide.

“We are confident that these actions will further reassure voters, our personnel, service providers, and stakeholders of their safety during elections and a free, fair and peaceful process. We look forward to a comprehensive plan for the deployment of security personnel,” he noted.

Buhari, govs’ meeting

Also, a meeting between the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), state governors, Emefiele and other officials, meant to discuss the disastrous new naira policy of the CBN was cancelled on Tuesday.

The development, it was gathered, followed the two separate lawsuits filed by three governors and five political parties, which have stalled Buhari’s intervention.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed to The PUNCH on Tuesday that the meeting was “put down” due to the legal battles surrounding the policy.

Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) on Monday dragged the Federal Government and the CBN before the Supreme Court, seeking a halt to the full implementation of the naira redesign policy.

The applicants in the suit were the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara three states, while the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was the sole respondent in the matter.

In furtherance of their support for the currency redesign initiative, four parties obtained an order from the Federal Capital Territory High Court restraining the FG, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, CBN and 27 commercial banks from halting the policy or extending the February 10 deadline handed down by the apex bank.

The order was handed down on Monday by Justice Eleojo Enenche following an application by the five applicants.

Also on Monday, 14 political parties threatened to boycott the February 25 election, should the CBN extend the time limit.

Speaking on behalf of the parties at a news conference in Abuja, the spokesperson for the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties Chairmen, Kenneth Udeze, warned that the parties would pull out of the election if the apex bank bows to pressure and suspend the policy.

But explaining why the planned meeting between the governors and the President was shelved, Shehu said, “According to the programme, he was to meet the Nigeria Governors Forum in attendance with the CBN Governor, the IG of Police, EFCC and so on.

“Because of the legal matters in court over the naira redesign, that meeting was put down and a smaller meeting was convened with the Chairmen of the NGF and the Progressives Governors Forum. So, they were called into a private meeting.”

Despite the cancellation, Buhari met privately with the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State; the CBN governor, Emiefele, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, AbdulRasheed Bawa, Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor.

However, the Presidential spokesman did not disclose the details of the meeting.

Asked whether any policy changes were discussed, the CBN governor declined to answer but instead shielded his face from correspondents.

The PUNCH reports that the scarcity of naira had not eased despite promises by the apex bank that it had taken some measures to address the challenge which had worsened the hardship in the country.

Several banking halls and ATM points were daily besieged by citizens desperate for cash.

After a meeting with APC governors last Friday, Buhari appealed to Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the crisis.

The seven-day window ends on February 10.

But the Federal Government lambasted the opposition political parties that went to court to restrain the President from addressing the new naira debacle.

It also accused the parties of politicising the situation, stressing that they were not mindful of the plights of Nigerians due to the cash crunch.

Speaking at the 23rd edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023), which featured the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the action of the parties was unscrupulous.

He said, “Recall that after his meeting with progressives’ governors on Friday, President Buhari 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.

“Unfortunately, on Monday, 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.”

Mohammed said the court action came after a number of opposition parties threatened to boycott the 2023 general elections if the deadline was extended.

He added, “These curious actions by the parties concerned is clear evidence that the opposition has turned this whole issue into a political game, preferring to make Nigerians suffer more on the altar of 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?

“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?”

Mohammed argued that it was bad politics to put the interest of desperate political parties over and above that of Nigerians.

He, however, stated that despite the antics of the opposition, the government was willing and able to take decisive steps to bring succour to Nigerians in the shortest possible time.

The minister further said the Federal Government was mindful of the inconveniences being endured by citizens as a result of the fuel supply disruptions and the recent redesigning of some naira notes.

“Government is working assiduously to restore normalcy to these critical enablers of economic activity and to take added measures, where necessary, to alleviate the pains of Nigerians,” the minister assured.

In the meantime, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has again appealed to Nigerians to remain calm and allow the FG to proffer solutions to the naira and fuel issues.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Tinubu sympathised with Nigerians, especially the downtrodden, whom he said have been made to bear the brunt of the policy.

He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited for the fuel supply relief being enjoyed in the FCT and urged the company to bring relief to other parts of the country.

He also admonished the CBN not to be dogmatic in the deadline it has fixed for the transition from old notes to the new currency.

He said, “This is a challenging period in the life of our country when our people are made to stay on the line for hours to get fuel and even get their own money from the banks.’’

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)

The February 10 deadline for the currency swap announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria has pitted Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) against 14 political parties which threatened to boycott the February 25 election, should the CBN extend the time limit.

This is as a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has restrained the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), CBN, its Governor Godwin Emefiele and 27 commercial banks from suspending, stopping, extending or interfering with the currency swap terminal date.

The order was handed down on Monday by Justice E. Enenche following an application by four political parties.

That said, the three governors, who dragged the CBN and the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, were seeking a halt to the full implementation of the naira redesign policy initiated by the apex bank.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit which is coming four days after the governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress met with the President where they complained about the hardship occasioned by the currency policy.

Buhari had asked them to give him seven days to address their complaints, but apparently unimpressed by the President’s pledge, the governors on Monday headed for the Supreme Court to stop the policy.

The applicants in the suit were the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, while the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was the sole respondent in the matter.

At a briefing held in Lagos earlier on, the CBN governor had maintained that the apex bank would not extend the deadline for swapping old naira notes with the newly redesigned ones, stating that the CBN and other stakeholders were already addressing areas where there were pressures.

Some prominent Nigerians, including Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, Senator Ben Bruce and Accord Party Chairman, Mohammed Nalado supported the CBN policy.

Obaseki endorsed the policy in a post on his official Twitter handle on Monday while Atiku and Obi had argued in separate statements and a Twitter post that the merits of the new naira policy far outweighed the inconveniences Nigerians were experiencing.

But on Sunday, the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, lamented that people in the rural areas in the state were finding it difficult to get the new naira notes

In a Facebook post, he said, “I have ordered the opening of branches of the state-owned microfinance bank in the 17 local government areas of the state to enable the citizens to have access to financial services. As a government, it is our responsibility to look into all possible solutions to help our citizens access financial services. To achieve this, I have directed that the state-owned Yobe Microfinance Bank opens branches in each of the state’s 17 local governments.”

Fashola faults CBN

Speaking as a guest on the Channels Television programme ‘Politics Today’ on Monday, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola empathised with Nigerians over the hardship being experienced in obtaining the new naira notes across the country.

According to him, those who initiated the policy should reflect on it and ask themselves whether that was the intent of the policy to cause people pain, advising that the policy should be readjusted.

However, while asserting the rights of the citizens to reasonable notice, the three governors averred that the 10-day extension by the FG was largely insufficient to address the challenges occasioned by the policy adding that “there is no justifiable basis for the ongoing difficulties.”

The three northern states in a motion ex-parte filed on their behalf by their lawyer, Abdul-Hakeem Mustapha, SAN, urged the apex court to grant “an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria, either by itself or acting through the Central Bank Nigeria and/ or the commercial banks; its agents; agencies; corporations; ministries; parastatals; organizations or through any person or persons (natural and artificial) howsoever, from suspending or determining or ending on the 10th of February 2023 the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs/Applicants’ Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.”

The plaintiffs also filed a motion on notice to abridge the time within which the respondent may file and serve his counter-affidavit to the suit and an order for an accelerated hearing of the matter.

Specifically, the states were praying for a declaration that the Demonetization Policy of the Federation being currently carried out by the CBN under the directive of the President was not in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), CBN Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject.

They were also asking the court to declare that the three-month notice regarding the expiration of the old notes was in gross violation of the provisions of section 20(3) of the CBN Act, 2007, which specifies that reasonable notice must be given before such a policy.

Given the provisions of section 20(3) of the CBN Act, the governors contended that CBN had no powers to issue a timeline for the acceptance and redeeming of banknotes issued by the apex bank except as limited by section 22(1) of the Act 2007 which stipulates that ‘’the Central Bank shall at all times redeem its bank notes.’’

The applicants prayed the court direct the immediate suspension of the demonetisation policy of the CBN in compliance with the relevant provisions of the law.

Kaduna Attorney-General

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Kaduna State, Aisha Dikko in an affidavit deposed, in support of the suit stated that most transactions still required cash in exchange for goods and services.

She maintained that the Federal Government should make sufficient money available in circulation for the smooth running of the economy.

 It read in part, “That the majority of the indigenes of the plaintiffs’ states who reside in the rural areas have been unable to exchange or deposit their old naira notes as there are no banks in the rural areas where the majority of the population of the states reside.

“Most people in rural areas of the plaintiffs’ states do not have bank accounts and have so far been unable to deposit their life savings which are still in the old naira notes.

“There is restiveness amongst the people in the various states because of the hardship being suffered by the people, and the situation will sooner than later degenerate into the breakdown of law and order.

“The plaintiff state governments cannot stand by as they are duty-bound to protect citizens in their states and prevent the breakdown of law and order.

“I know that if the Federal Government of Nigeria had given sufficient and reasonable time for the naira redesign policy, all the current hardship and loss being experienced by the plaintiffs’ state governments as well as people in the various states would have been avoided.

“I know that the 10-day extension by the Federal Government is still insufficient to address the challenges bedevilling the policy. I also understand that the Federal Government cannot bar Nigerians from redeeming their old naira notes at any time, even though the senior notes are no longer legal tender.”

Among other reasons, the applicants claimed that the new notes were not made available by the government and that many citizens from the three northern states have not set their eyes on the redesigned notes.

They further argued that there had been an acute shortage of the redesigned notes in Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States which has affected commercial activities in the states.

“Despite the assurance of the Federal Government of Nigeria that the new naira notes would be in circulation by mid-December 2022, the new notes were not made available by the government to Nigerians.

“Many citizens of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states have to date not seen the newly redesigned notes let alone exchanged their old notes for the new notes.”

“Since the announcement of the new naira note policy, there has been an acute shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states. Citizens who have duly deposited their old naira notes have increasingly found it difficult and sometimes next to impossible to access new naira notes in order to go about their daily activities”.

“This inadequacy of the notice coupled with the haphazard, cack-handed manner the exercise is being carried out and the attendant hardship same is wreaking havoc on Nigerians has not been well acknowledged even by the Federal Government of Nigeria itself”.

“The naira, whether old or new, is scarce. Economic activities are furiously grinding to a halt. The vast quantity of official work time is spent looking for scarce notes and hunger stalks the entire landscape of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states. The states are on the verge of anarchy,’’ the governors submitted.

14 parties

But opposing the moves to extend the deadline for the currency swap, 14 political parties under the aegis of Forum of Chairmen of Nigerian Political Parties and Candidates of the 2023 General Election, said they would back out of the general election if the CBN further extends the February 10 time limit.

The members of the group include governorship, senatorial and House of Representatives as well as House of Assembly candidates.

The Spokesperson for the FCNPPC and chairman of Action Alliance, Kenneth Udeze, who addressed a news conference in Abuja on Monday said both the February 10 deadline for the currency swap and February 25 date for the presidential election remained sacrosanct.

He also alleged that an unidentified group sought the association’s support for a subversive plot to derail the election.

Those who attended the press conference included the National Chairman of the National Rescue Movement, Chief Isaac Udeh; Mohammed Nalado (Accord Party); Alhaji Yusuf Dantalle (Allied Peoples Movement) and Chief Uchenna Nnadi of Action Peoples Party.

Udeze said, “We hereby announce our resolution that at least 14 of the 18 political parties in Nigeria will not be interested in the 2023 general election and indeed we shall withdraw all our participation from the electoral process if the new naira policy is suspended or cancelled or if the deadline is further shifted.

“Having stated our views clearly, we now bring to the notice of the nation and particularly the security agencies that we have intercepted very credible intelligence of a well-financed plot to instigate violent disturbances, incite and provoke civil unrest aimed at undermining the President and causing a shift in the election date or causing his administration to come to an abrupt end.

“We were approached to lend our support, generous promises were made but we believe that Nigeria comes first before any other mundane consideration.

“Painfully, we must state that this voice of dissent is coming from within the political party of the President. Elements of the party that should have been the first to embrace these policies are the party championing the opposition against it.”

He recalled that in the past few days, there have been a lot of interactions among the political party chairmen and the candidates, particularly the presidential candidates on the issues of the new naira notes and cash withdrawal policy of the CBN.

Udeze further stated, “You must have seen some of them issue personal statements and state their personal views. We have all heard the position of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Waziri Atiku Abubakar and also that of Peter Obi of the Labour Party and it is obvious from their positions that both men see the positives in the policy and have also called for action to ameliorate the current suffering of the Nigerian people visited upon them by some unscrupulous elements in the sector.

“After robust engagements amongst ourselves, we are nearing a consensus and it is my pleasure to announce to you all that the political parties in Nigeria and candidates for election in the 2023 general election support the naira redesign and cash withdrawal limit policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Except for one major political party which has not given cogent reasons why it insists that the policy must be stopped, a majority of Nigerian political parties and candidates see the immense benefits of the policy.’’

Parties tackle govs

Udeze told The PUNCH that his association would join the suit filed by the three governors.

He said, “Yes, we will join as defendants. We are going to join because we are interested and it affects political parties in Nigeria. We have gotten an order from the court.

‘’It has to do with our intention to stop any authorities from stopping the policy of the CBN on the directive of Mr President. The court granted the motion ex parte.’’

In consolidation of its support for the CBN policy, the Action Alliance, Action Peoples Party, Allied Peoples Movement and the National Rescue Movement have obtained an order restraining the FG, Emefiele, the CBN and 21 commercial banks from halting the policy or extending the February 10 deadline.

In a motion ex parte filed by five political parties, Justice Enenche also granted an order directing the Chief Executives of the banks and their alter egos ‘’to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the country by their hoarding, withholding, not paying or disbursing the new N200 N500 and N1000 bank notes despite the supply of such notes by the CBN.’’

In the 27 grounds filed by the applicants, they claimed that politicians in possession of illicit funds were the ones who wanted the policies suspended.

Commenting on the case filed by the governors, the Senate spokesperson, Ajibola Basiru said the red chamber was not aware of the matter.

He said, “If the case is already in court, there is nothing we can do and since we are not a party in the case, it is out of our purview.

“We are not even aware of the case until now that you’re informing us. And since we are not joined as a party, it is not our business.”

Basiru implored the executive to prevail on the CBN to release sufficient naira notes to address the hardship caused by the currency scarcity.

“There is no need to take the case to court; the president should do the needful and ensure that the CBN does not truncate the economic life of our people,’’ he pleaded.

In their respective reactions to the litigation, the Presidential Campaign Councils of the PDP and LP said they had yet to meet to discuss the suit filed by the governors.

The spokesman for the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization, Kola Ologbondiyan told one of our correspondents that the council was likely to issue a statement after its meeting.

Reacting to the governors’ action, Minister of State for Labour and Chief Spokesman for Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, stated, ‘’It is not the first time that state governors are dragging the FG to court. They had done it on a number of occasions like in the case of the judiciary autonomy, state House of Assembly issues, economy and other areas.

“It is not left for me to say whether it is justified. But it is part of the democratic culture we promote within our party. The president won’t be offended by it at all. He likes people to head to court to resolve issues.”

The APC Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, noted litigation was an acceptable way to resolve issues.

On his part, the Director-General of the LP Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Oshuntokun noted that the suit was yet to be debated either at the party level or the campaign council.

Meanwhile, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Monday lent his support to the suit initiated by his colleagues.

The governor who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Terver Akase, said, “He (Ortom) is in support of the move (litigation). He said it is the right of every Nigerian to seek the intervention of the court in such a situation.

 “So , he is in support of the three governors that have gone to court and added that if they had sought his consent, he would have asked to be joined.”

In a related development, the Ondo State Government said it was still studying whether to sue the CBN governor over the scarcity of new naira notes.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye said there was nothing wrong with the state governors challenging the action of the CBN over the currency matter, saying the state government would study the matter and take action.

Titiloye said, “We are looking at the brief various options, then we became aware that some states have gone to court. We will avail the various options but we’ll get back to you after we have taken decisions on what to do.’’

Speaking in the same tone, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to the Cross River governor, Christian Ita, disclosed that Governor Ben Ayade was not happy with the way the currency redesign policy was being handled.

He stated that Ayade was appalled by the suffering Nigerians were being subjected to.

But the Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, said the implementation of the naira swap policy was carried out by the CBN governor in retaliation for his failure to clinch the APC presidential ticket.

Ganduje made the disclosure at a campaign rally, held at Tsanyawa, on Sunday, where he presented the APC governorship candidate and his deputy, alongside Senatorial and other candidates to the people.

According to a statement, issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Abba Anwar, the governor emphasized that: “The CBN governor is only doing this to cause confusion in the forthcoming elections over unjustifiable reason.”

Ganduje categorically stated that the Kano state government and the APC in the state were totally against the action of the CBN governor.

In Oyo State, the APC postponed the presidential rally earlier scheduled to hold today (Tuesday) at Mapo Hall in Ibadan, the state capital because of fuel and new naira notes crises.

The APC state Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare, in a telephone conversation, said the decision was taken by Governor Simon Lalong-led Presidential Campaign Council in view of the mood of the nation.

He regretted that “since the crisis occasioned by the fuel scarcity and Federal government’s cashless policy implementation as well as local currency redesigning.

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