Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, claimed on Sunday that the Central Bank of Nigeria adopted a currency confiscation strategy rather than the announced currency swap scheme that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved for currency reform.
The currency issue got worse last Thursday when the President, disregarding the Supreme Court, extended the use of old N200 notes while maintaining that previous N500 and N1,000 notes were still illegal.
In his state broadcast, Buhari urged Nigerians to deposit their old N500 and 1000 notes with the CBN and announced that the old N200 note would be legal money for the next 60 days, until April 10, 2023.
El-Rufai expressed his displeasure with Buhari’s broadcast and criticized the President for issuing a directive that he said violated the February 8 Supreme Court order prohibiting the Federal Government from stopping its cash swap policy on February 10.
Meanwhile, in defiance of Buhari’s directive that the old N1,000 and N500 have ceased to be legal tender, the El-Rufai-led Kaduna government directed ministries, departments and agencies to accept payments in the old naira and new notes.
The governor asked residents of the state to continue using the old naira notes.
The Kaduna governor, however, said in a series of tweets on his Twitter account on Sunday that the bank simply seized the money because it was in excess of what was allowed under the currency swap policy.
He wrote, “Currency redesign was approved by the President and announced. Currency recoloring resulted.
“Currency swap was envisaged by s.20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act as approved by PMB. Swap means I take N100,000 to the bank in old notes & I receive N100,000 immediately in new notes. No more, no less.
“During implementation of the cash swap, the CBN withdrew over N2 trillion from circulation but printed only N400 billion, so in effect, currency confiscation was then unilaterally and unlawfully implemented by the CBN. Trade and exchange have collapsed. Human suffering, impoverishment and economic contraction resulted.
“The policy objective was derailed into a deliberate national fiasco to sabotage the elections in the name of preventing vote-buying. All efforts to get CBN to implement what was lawfully approved failed.
“Some State Governments had no choice but to approach the Supreme Court for adjudication. The APC as a party and the Progressive Governors Forum are unanimous that policy implementation must be reviewed, and full compliance of the subsisting ruling of the Supreme Court be observed until final judgment on the suit instituted by the State Governments.”