The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has disclosed that officials of the federal government reached out to him and some governors on the new naira policy. However, he rejected the offer put forth by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government, he said.
Mr El-Rufai said the federal government proposed to allow the circulation of the old N200 notes until 10 April. In return, the governors were to withdraw the suits filed by their states in court.
The governor, in a statement issued by his media aide, Muyiwa Adekeye, on Wednesday, said the report that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the federal government held a meeting in the wee hours of Wednesday ahead of Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing was false.
He said no such meeting happened. Instead, there was a conversation on the phone in which the officials offered a concession to allow old N200 notes to remain in circulation while the governors withdraw the case.
He stated that the federal government claimed that the old notes of the higher denominations of N500 and N1,000 are currently being destroyed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The terms they proposed were to allow only the old N200 note to remain legal tender and be circulated by the CBN till 10 April 2023,” he said.
Mr El-Rufai said the proposal was rebuffed because retaining the old notes will not address the economic challenges caused by the scarcity of naira notes.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr El-Rufai’s Kaduna State, alongside Kogi State and Zamfara State filed a joint suit against the federal government at the Supreme Court on the currency policy.
The states, later joined by seven others, asked the Supreme Court to restrain the federal government from implementing the 10 February deadline for the use of the old notes. However, despite the interim order of the court, the central bank insisted on the deadline, thus sustaining the scarcity of cash as the new notes are insufficient.
After the Supreme Court’s sitting on Wednesday, the court adjourned till 22 February to decide on the policy.
Protests have been rocking several cities across the country with commercial banks being the target of attacks.
Read Mr El-Rufai’s full statement below.
A few hours after the Supreme Court adjourned the “currency redesign” case today, The Cable, a respected publication, published what it described as an exclusive story regarding the intentions of the Federal Government on the matter.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai would like to clarify that The Cable has been misled by its sources on this issue. There has been no meeting this week between the FG and either the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) or the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), not to talk of one lasting till the wee hours of today, Wednesday, 15 February 2023.
Rather, senior officials of the FG reached some governors, including Malam Nasir El-Rufai, on phone to initiate discussions on a possible out of court settlement. The terms they proposed were to allow only the old N200 note to remain legal tender and be circulated by the CBN till 10 April 2023. They claimed that the CBN had already destroyed the old N500 and N1000 notes that had been deposited, but that those persons who still held the old notes could redeem them up to 10 April 2023.
These were not considered as serious proposals, for obvious reasons. Circulating the old N200 notes alone would not be sufficient to relieve widespread human suffering in Kaduna State, and indeed in Nigeria today.They knew that and that is why they falsely claimed that the CBN had already destroyed the old N500 and N1000 notes. This is contrary to the fact available to the governors to the effect that the old notes were in the custody of commercial bank branches throughout Nigeria until the evening of Monday, February 13, and not a single N500 or N1000 had been destroyed.
It is also a non-starter to insist on a new cut off date without first assuring that sufficient new notes would have been printed and circulated. Information available to the governors also indicate that the Mint will need at least 12 months to print the minimum amount of N1 trillion needed to ensure a functioning trade and exchange environment in Nigeria.
The tabling of false facts, inadequate solutions to the sufferings of our people, and the bad faith that some of the FG negotiators displayed in our phone conversations and chats have now been taken further in leaking a false account and context to a respected medium. The plaintiff governors rejected the draft proposal as insincere, and invested our hopes in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai will be addressing the people of Kaduna State on this currency redesign mess, the consequences of the extension of the injunction of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and related matters tomorrow. But the Kaduna State Government feels it is important tonight not to allow an exclusive falsehood to stand, or even gain the slightest traction. This statement is therefore issued to put the records straight.
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