.Want review of CBN deadline for currency swap
From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Pan-Arewa socio-political organisation, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has warned that insecurity, inflation, fuel scarcity, exchange of old for new currency, should not affect the forthcoming general elections.
Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement, yesterday, said there were unhealthy murmurs which hint at the possibility that the elections might not hold, and some kind of unconstitutional contraption, which NEF would not like to be part of.
Baba-Ahmed also advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review planned face out of the new naira notes, adding that whatever its benefits, it cannot be of value if it destroys many aspects of the economy, or alienates already hard-pressed citizens further.
“Northern Elders Forum has reviewed the difficult conditions under which Northerners and fellow Nigerians live today, as well as concerns over the security of the elections which will be conducted in February and March this year.
“The Forum notes that there are unhealthy murmurs which hint at the possibility that the elections may not hold, and some kind of unconstitutional contraption may be forced on Nigerians after May, this year.
“Those who peddle these dangerous rumors point to the near-desperate circumstances under which Nigerians live.
“They suggest that difficulties simultaneously imposed by insecurity, crushing inflation, fuel scarcity, exchange of old for new currency notes and others which affect particularly poor Nigerians are deliberately contrived to inflame passions and trigger unrest which may poison the election environment or threaten its conduct.
“The Forum has no basis to support these conjectures. Nonetheless, it warns against any attempts to interfere with the conduct of credible elections and a peaceful transition to a new administration.
“The severe economic and social difficulties under which Nigerians live are indeed threats to peace and security.
“Solution must be found to improve security of the citizen and the state. Fuel shortage can and must be eliminated immediately.
“The currency swap programme has not worked as planned, and it is strangulating economies, communities and the patience of the citizen.
“It should be revisited, particularly around its timelines and operations of the CBN and banks. Whatever its benefits, it cannot be of value if it destroys many aspects of the economy, or alienates already hard-pressed citizens further.
“The Forum advises a postponement of its deadlines and a major review of the utility of the continued stay of the leadership of the CBN in place.
“The Forum warns that Nigerians will not accept to live under any arrangement that offends the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.