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Falana-Led Group, ASCAB Threatens Nationwide Protest Over Scarcity Of Naira Notes

Falana-Led Group, ASCAB Threatens Nationwide Protest Over Scarcity Of Naira Notes
February 6, 2023

The coalition threatened nationwide protest if the situation continues unabated. 


A coalition of labour movements and over 70 civil society groups, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, under the leadership of human rights lawyer Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow the spending of old Naira Notes due to the scarcity of the redesigned notes.


The coalition threatened nationwide protest if the situation continues unabated. 

The CBN fixed February 10 as the new deadline for swapping of old naira notes with the new ones, having initially fixed January 31 as the deadline.


Many Nigerians are currently unable to obtain the new N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, resulting in scarcity and attendant suffering in the country.


Reacting to this, a statement signed the group interim chairman, Falana said it is lawful statutorily to allow the spending of both old and new notes at the same time.


The statement reads: “The Federal Government has unleashed untold hardship on the masses of Nigeria by the unprecedented scarcity of the Naira, fuel scarcity and skyrocketing rise in fuel prices.


“Fuel and currency scarcity is inexplicable and unacceptable. The Federal Government has shirked its obligation to guarantee the security and welfare of the Nigerian people as provided under Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.


“Sporadic peaceful protests have erupted throughout the country expressing the deep displeasure of the masses. There is an urgent need for leading human and pro-democracy organisations to provide leadership in canalizing the energies and anger of the masses in order to give the protests direction and prevent anarchy, state terrorism and continued arbitrary repression of the masses.


“Since it is now clear that enough Naira notes have not been printed the Central Bank should allow the old and new Naira notes to be legal tender in Nigeria. This suggestion is in line with Section 22 of the Central Bank Act which permits the replacement of old currency notes with new ones after the deadline fixed by the CBN.


“Meanwhile, officials of the CBN and other banks involved in hoarding or selling the new currency notes should be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other economic saboteurs.


“The soldiers who unleashed violence on the students of the University of Benin as well as trigger happy troops who murdered a young man and injured several others at Ibadan, Oyo State should be arrested and prosecuted without any delay.”


The statement also added that the lingering fuel scarcity in the country is targeted at forcing Nigerians to accept fuel price hike.


The statement continued: “Against the increasing fuel scarcity across the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has said that it has two billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, in stock. The artificial scarcity of fuel is designed to force Nigerians to accept the increase in the pump price of PMS. In many parts of the country, petrol is sold between N300 and N600 per litre.


“To give the impression that the crisis is being addressed a Task Force headed by President Buhari was set up a couple of weeks ago. Like similar Task Forces set up in the past the new Task Force will not solve the crisis. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Buhari should direct the NNPCL to supply adequate fuel and ensure that the product is sold at the official price. Anyone who hoards the product or who sell it beyond the official price should be arrested and prosecuted.


“The currency and fuel crises constitute unprecedented challenge to economic survival of ordinary people that may threaten the 2023 elections which provide an opportunity for the people to choose a party considered to be representative of their aspirations.


“Unless the twin crises of fuel and currency scarcity are immediately resolved within the timeline given by the President, ASCAB has resolved to call on the Nigerian people to commence series of peaceful mass actions in their communities to resist the unjustifiable economic hardship which may compel postponement of the forthcoming elections as INEC has hinted.


“If the Federal Government fails to resolve the twin crises of fuel and currency scarcity before February 10, 2023, the country will witness nationwide peaceful mass actions by the Nigerian people.”