Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Monday, backed the Nigeria Governors’ Forum that the continuous Naira scarcity of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes may quickly explode into a catastrophic economic crisis that will cause a severe recession and food inflation.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, faulted the Central Bank of Nigeria for saying it disbursing new notes to commercial banks daily.
The group argued that CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on Sunday, 29th January 2023 said that following its naira notes redesign and cash swap policy, the apex bank has since recovered N1.9 trillion worth of currency from the N2.7 trillion cash previously held outside of the banking system.
The group challenged the CBN governor to tell Nigerians how much new naira notes have been produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc since the naira swap policy commenced.
HURIWA said it is unarguable that the CBN is busy shifting blame on commercial banks which it accuses of hoarding new banknotes when the apex bank should take responsibility that it has failed Nigerians as the CBN has not released half of the N1.9 trillion cash it mopped up from the economy in the last two months.
The group said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship in the face of the cash crunch as it is now obvious that the CBN deceived the common man by collecting the old naira notes from them and then turning back to refuse them the new notes.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria HAS FAILED Nigerians having deceived millions of ordinary people to submit old naira notes at commercial banks but are now unable to get the new ones, therefore making life miserable for them as millions queue up daily at ATM galleries and banks all over the nation without being able to get both the old and the new notes.
“Indeed, a few bank managers have compromised and have been exposed by anti-graft agencies but for the CBN to now shift its failure entirely on banks is an act of irresponsibility. We challenge the CBN to let Nigerians know if it had released half of the cash mopped up from the economy in the last two months.
“As warned by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the recently the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Nigerian economy is at the risk of recession as a result of the cash crunch which has foisted pain and misery on ordinary people who can’t get their own money from banks even to feed whilst millions now patronize PoS terminals at outrageous service charges of up to 20%.
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“To say people, get new notes and hoard is to use is a disjointed fallacy or ARGUMENTUM AD MISERECORDIAM. Now, banks are being burnt by angry Nigerians whose money is trapped and who now languish in hunger and deprivation despite having their money in banks. Also, protests have started to break up all over the country as a result of the hardship. Emefiele and his co-travelers better do the needful before it is too late. A word is enough for the wise.”