Did the planned visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to his political stronghold of Kano State inform Sunday’s sudden decision of the Central Bank to extend the Naira swap of old Naita notes for new ones by an extra 10 days?
It was also not clear on Sunday night whether the Chairman of the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on new naira re-design and naira swap policy, and majority leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, raised his concerns when he met President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, alongside Governor Umar Ganduje, but he has rejected the ten days extension granted by the CBN for the exchange of old naira notes.
The Kano State government raised quite a dust in political circles when it sought to postpone President Buhari’s visit to Kano amid fear of a backlash from residents, angry over the CBN swap policy. But the presidency insisted the visit would take place as scheduled.
CBN appeared inflexible on its January 31 deadline until a sudden announcement on Sunday, giving a 10-day breather.
Many suspect the visit to Kano by Buhari was at the root of CBN’s about-turn.
While majority of Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief over CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele’s announcement from Daura, Doguwa penned a statement on behalf of the Adhoc committee he heads, rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act.
The CBN had fixed January 31st as the deadline for the exchange of the old naira notes; N200, N500 and N1000.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele on Sunday, said President Muhammadu Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10.
Doguwa was in Gov. Ganduje’s team that met Buhari after Emefiele announced the extension. Ganduje met Buhari to tell him the government was expecting him on his official visit, starting Monday, amid reports that he advised against the visit over tensions in the volatile state, where residents were said to be angry over the naira swap policy and former Tuesday deadline.
Recall the House, during its sitting on Tuesday, following the outcry by Nigerians, constituted the ad hoc committee to look into the issue.
Doguwa said that; “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.
“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Adhoc committee.”
He said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
Describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa said the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed by Hon. Speaker on Monday.
He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the states level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.
Elatedly, Ganduje on Sunday in Daura said the State is ready to host President Muhammadu Buhari on a State visit slated for Monday, 30th January, 2023.
He told Journalists in Daura, after meeting Buhari with a delegation of critical stakeholders from the State on Sunday: “We are very much ready to receive him and we have a lot for him to commission including federal government projects and state government projects.
Ganduje, had in an interactive session with stakeholders in Kano, including scholars, legislators, political leaders and business community revealed that his government had requested the President to postpone the trip, saying that the state was deeply concerned about the hardship principally induced by the ongoing cash swap from old to redesigned notes.
He said the decision was taken to avoid any unforeseen circumstance.
The State government had then written a letter to the President requesting for a shift of the visit.
According to a press statement issued on Saturday by Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, the decision to advise the President against the visit was endorsed by the stakeholders of the State.
President Buhari had, however, insisted on the Monday visit.
But with the new situation, President Buhari will commission the 10 megawatt federal government, Kano Grid Solar Power, multi-billion naira Dala Inland Dry Port in Zawachiki, Kumbotso local government area, a state government statement said.
other projects to be commission to include Kano state Data Centre at Audu Baki Secretariat, Tier Data Centre and office complex at Galaxy Backbone Limited Project at Ahmadu Bello Way.
The rest are commissioning of Cancer Treatment Centre at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, Giginyu; Muhammadu Buhari Road Rotary Interchange at NNPC Station, along Maiduguri Road; Aliko Dangote Ultra-Modern Skill Acquisition Centre, Zaria Road and a Federal Government Housing Units at Gandun Sarki, Darmanawa.