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HomeNewsNaira Redesign Not Done To Punish Nigerians - Buhari

Naira Redesign Not Done To Punish Nigerians – Buhari

Former President Muhammadu Buhari has denied the claim that his administration “deliberately” used the naira redesign policy to punish Nigerians.

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He stated that rather, the policy helped to ease the 2023 general elections, thereby making it “cleaner.”

This was disclosed in a memoir titled ‘Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015 – 2023),’ written by Buhari’s former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and presented in Abuja on Tuesday.

The naira redesign policy was formulated and implemented under the leadership of the erstwhile governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, in October 2022.

As contained in the 12th chapter of the memoir, Buhari faulted claims that the scarcity of the  naira notes was targeted at Nigerians, but rather, “it was people who had too much money that had problems with it.”

The former president noted, “There is no denying that the naira redesign policy gave us cleaner elections.

“The scarcity of money was not deliberately done to punish Nigerians. Democracy allows people to express their will, and we did not attempt to control them. People understood the implications of their choices, and we did not force them.”

The ex-military leader noted the effect of the redesign policy, among others, on the 2023 presidential poll in which his party – the ruling All Progressives Congress lost in his native Katsina State.

“My state, Katsina, showed the beauty of the whole system. In the presidential poll, APC lost, but they came back to win the governorship. Maybe they took things for granted earlier because it was my state, and they thought they would win easily. People do not like being taken for granted,” the memoir read.

Buhari further stated, “When it was said that the new notes were not available, over N260 million was found with one bank chairman. Did I take on the Supreme Court on the issue? No, I could not have.

“Some APC governors went to court. I refused to judge people by my own standard, I am not materialistic, but it will be too much to expect all Nigerians to be the same way. It is not fair to condemn anybody, but it is up to them and their conscience. I want to continue to conduct myself with clear conscience, so that when I go to bed, I sleep off immediately.”

Since inception, for several months, the policy had continuously faced criticisms from Nigerians and financial experts, amongst others, as citizens didn’t accept the policy with open arms.

Many people had argued that rather than completely phasing out the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, the apex bank could have introduced the new notes to be spent alongside the new notes, before gradually phasing out the old ones.

The redesign policy resulted into a nationwide scarcity of the naira as Nigerians could hardly access their money – both in cash and at banks.

The development created more confusion across the country amid the refusal by banks, filling stations, and traders to accept the old currencies.

During the period, several commercial banks halls were filled to the brim by customers who wanted to get new naira notes.

Likewise, there were long queues at Automated Teller Machine points in different parts of the country.

The CBN, under Emefiele’s tenure, ruled that the deadline for the withdrawal of the old naira notes was slated for January 31, 2023, before its postponement to February 10, 2023.

Meanwhile, in late November 2023, the CBN directed all banks branches to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and re-designed, following an order by the Supreme Court.

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