….Says mitigating efforts waste of time
From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), has told Nigerians to hold the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for lives lost as a result of the initiation of its cashless policy.
CHRICED contended that CBN’s current mitigating efforts to ensure the circulation of cash due to threat by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on strike was a waste of time because the harm had already been done.
Its Executive Director, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, who addressed journalists yesterday in Abuja, said the apex bank was warned of the dangers posed by what he called ‘poorly conceived and implemented policy,’ but the agency threw caution to the wind and proceeded with it.
Zikirullahi, consequently, demanded a reasonable compensation for citizens who have suffered due to the cashless policy.
“The CBN did not heed the advice of those who urged it to proceed cautiously with this policy. Regardless of the CBN’s current mitigation efforts, due to threat by the labour unions to go on strike, the harm has already been done.
“Government policy, which should be used to empower people and create wealth, is currently being used to decimate people and their means of subsistence.
“In addition, the CBN should be held accountable for every Nigerian life lost during the cash shortage.
“We cannot overlook the numerous Nigerians who lost loved ones because they lacked the cash to pay their medical bills.
“We cannot overlook the men and women whose farm produce rotted due to a lack of customers with cash to purchase it.
“We also cannot ignore our countrymen in the rural areas who wailed in anguish and endured the pangs of hunger for weeks because a handful of individuals in Abuja decided to implement a poorly conceived and poorly digested policy.
“CHRICED demands reasonable compensation for these groups of citizens who have suffered so much due to the cashless policy.”
Meanwhile, he faulted the outcome of the plebiscites, saying that the much-publicised implementation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewer (IReV) portal did not change the sad political narrative.
According to him, the Federal Government must arrest and prosecute those who spoilt the exercise.
“Nigerians anticipated that the much-publicized implementation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewer (IReV) portal would significantly improve INEC’s previous efforts.
“Unfortunately, the reverse was the case as the just concluded 2023 general elections were roundly criticized by citizens, local and international observers as gross fall from international election standards.
“As a consequence, both the winners and losers declared by the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) are now in a state of panic.
“The 2023 elections provided Nigerians with an opportunity to reset the democratic process and enthrone good governance in their country.
“Citizens across the nation were hopeful that they would seize the opportunity provided by the ballots to elect leaders of their choice.
“Sadly, while citizens were determined to participate in the process, desperate political actors in many regions of the country prevented the free and seamless expression of the people’s supreme will.
“We saw worrisome situations of organized criminal attempts to prevent eligible voters from exercising their democratic rights.
“There were also cases of attacks on polling units and the destruction of electoral materials.
“Even journalists covering the elections were not spared, as some targeted media personnel were brutalized, and their equipment destroyed.
“These violations, to the extent that they affected Nigerians, require an immediate response from the authorities.
“CHRICED believe strongly that it is never too late to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute the brigands and their backers for the crime of violently subverting the vote of the Nigerian people,” he concluded.