The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Kano state chapter has appealed to the Federal Government to extend the deadline for the expiration and collection of old naira notes in the country.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mallam Bello Galadanci, Publicity Secretary, ACF, Kano State Chapter, on Saturday.
The statement said the January 31 deadline set by the Federal Government had almost grounded socio-economic activities in the state.
It added that people’s refusal to accept the old naira notes in commercial transactions out of fear of possible inability to deposit the notes in commercial banks is causing untold hardship to the masses.
“This has currently made life more difficult for ordinary citizens, because banks, up till today, still give out the old naira notes to customers with the deadline only a few days away,” the statement said.
The ACF said many rural communities in the North are unaware of the new naira note, and may even reject it without proper enlightenment.
The northern sociocultural group, said the government should always consider democratic governments are about the people who in the first instance brought them to power.
The ACF also stands with the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad, who earlier blamed poor sensitisation, and engagement of the traditional institutions before embarking on the currency swap at the rural communities.
The forum alleged that the currency redesign has been sabotaged by Nigerian banks. It blamed the CBN for not engaging critical stakeholders before embarking on the exercise.
“Arising from the confusion emanating from almost all the nooks and corners of our Great Fatherland since the announcement by Nigeria’s apex bank, the CBN in the last quarter of 2022, it has become imperative for all patriotic citizens including leaders, professional groups, farmers, traders, civil society and all persons of goodwill to review the development accordingly.
“As a cultural, non-partisan and non-political voluntary organization with a focus on the immediate aspirations and greater interests of our communities, ACF, Kano State Chapter has found it expedient to join the strident calls by Eminent persons and institutions for an amicable solution to the apparent stalemate.
“We believe legitimate reasons exist for the authorities concerned to shift the deadline from January 31 2023 in the greater interest of the majority of our people, particularly communities with no banking facilities and others ravaged by the incessant insecurity.
“Right from day one, Nigerian banks had shown lethargy in complying with the plans of the apex bank, the CBN as their regulator. Their posture suggested they were not part of the scheme. A few days before the deadline, our ATMs continued to dispense old notes while the regulator kept making allegations the banks were not picking up the new notes.
“Overwhelming evidence suggests the non-availability of the new notes in key commercial centres of the federation. The ugly scenario has cast doubts about the genuineness and practicability of the January 31 deadline.
“ACF Kano State calls on the Federal Government, particularly the two chambers of the National Assembly, to prevail on the authorities at the CBN to save us from a catastrophe that may engulf the nation, as the CBN’s hard-line stance is seemingly an act that may plunge our lives into an avoidable disaster.
“In most urban and rural areas, ATMs are no longer dispensing cash; those that do dispense old notes. Presently, the old notes are more in circulation than the new ones, less than 5 days to the decreed deadline. The picture this unhealthy development gives could mean the sensitization campaign on the new currency notes had not been effective.
“Hear what His Eminence, the Sultan remarked when the CBN Comptroller in charge of Sokoto went to brief him on the new currency regime.
“We still have people who didn’t know that our Naira was redesigned. They could reject the new Naira notes when given. The CBN ought to have considered stakeholders ( traditional rulers) right from the day the redesign was announced.
“We have credible means to step down the information to the common man because the conventional media is for the elite.”
“ACF Kano re-echoes the revered traditional ruler’s position. We salute him, other community leaders and the NASS for their doggedness It is very clear, large sections of the populace particularly our local traders and business premises, farmers and artisans have been expressing fears about losses. Unlike the bitterness, hardship and suffering that accompanied the 1984 currency swap under military dictatorship, Nigeria is thankfully now under democracy.
“Democratic governments are about the people who in the first instance brought them to power. The nation must avoid a statement”, the ACF’s official statement said.