The recent economic cash crisis in Nigeria, caused by the naira redesign, political climate, and economic conditions, has increased bitcoin’s value proposition for average Nigerians. In Africa, bitcoin offers an indispensable financial safe haven.
The naira redesign is only the most recent catalyst magnifying the challenges faced by average Nigerians, a benevolent move to curb economic challenges and counterfeiting notes has resulted in a doubling down on the financial pressures faced by Nigerians.
All eyes were on our country as citizens voiced their frustrations at the ballot on Saturday, and our Government continues to wrestle with its growing economic challenges.
The total amount of currency-in-circulation in the country dropped from N3.29tn as of the end of October 2022 to N1.38tn as of the end of January 2023 as a result of the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Figures obtained from the CBN showed this represents a drop of N1.91tn in the three-month period.
The Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Emefiele also announced deadlines for Nigerians to swap their old with the new notes.
The banking sector regulator said, “Accordingly, all Deposit Money Banks currently holding the existing denominations of the currency may begin returning these notes back to the CBN effective immediately. The newly designed currency will be released to the banks in the order of first-come-first-serve basis.
“Customers of banks are enjoined to begin paying into their bank accounts the existing currency to enable them to withdraw the new banknotes once circulation begins.”
He decried the challenges associated with currency management including significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of currency-in-circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks.
IMF projects N4.26tn as currency outside banks
Amid the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund has projected that currency outside banking system would hit N4.26tn in 2023.
In its report titled ‘Nigeria: 2022 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Nigeria’, IMF that maintained there would be an increase in the volume of currency outside banks despite CBN’s aggressive effort to bring in more cash into the banking system and out of the hands of the public.
The report stated that the money outside of the banking system would be up from N2.94tn in 2021 to N7.66tn by 2027.
It was also projected that the money outside bank would be N3.54tn in 2022, N5.1tn in 2024, N6.08tn in 2025 and N6.99tn in 2027.
EFCC intercepts N32.4m ‘election money’ in Lagos
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday intercepted the sum of N32,400,000 in Lagos.
The money is suspected to have been earmarked for vote buying in Lagos, according to Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC Head of Media.
The spokesperson confirmed suspects involved have been taken into custody for further questioning.
EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa has implored all personnel deployed for election monitoring duties to show courage.
Bawa warned them not to give room for unscrupulous persons to undermine the integrity of the elections through financial inducement.
A tactical team of operatives are currently on ground in all the states of the federation and the FCT, the commission announced.
“Telephone hotlines have already been circulated through social media for members of the public to share information regarding financial malpractices,” Uwujaren added.
Naira swap crisis: Fed Govt not in breach of Supreme Court order, says Malami
The Federal Government said yesterday it was not in breach of the Supreme Court order restraining it from enforcing the February 10 time limit for the validity of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami gave the government’s position during a weekly ministerial briefing in Abuja.
Also yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila and Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu restated their displeasure with the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) naira redesign policy and fuel scarcity in the country.
While Gbajabiamila described naira and fuel scarcities as a “rigging” plot against the All Progressives Congress(APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Tinubu, Akeredolu called on voters to brace the hardship caused them by the shortages and cast their votes for the former Lagos State governor tomorrow.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 16, 2023, directed the CBN to re-circulate the old N200 notes, thereby extending its validity till April 10.
This was in spite of the Supreme Court order that the three old denominations (N1,000, N500 and N200 ) should remain legal till it delivers judgment in the case filed by some states against the Federal Government. The verdict will be given on March 3.
The President’s broadcast and express exclusion of the N500 and N1,000 notes had since been flayed by the public and Senior Advocates of Nigeria(SANs).
Asked to comment on the alleged flouting of the Supreme Court order by the President, Malami said: “Your question can best be answered within the context of what constitutes a rule of law in the Nigerian situation.
“Where an order is made by a court, you have multiple options, but let me state before even addressing the issue of the options available at our disposal as a government.
“The fact is that we are not in breach of any order made by the court, inclusive of any order associated with the naira redesign. We are not in breach.
“I’m not a banker, but you have not gone to establish which bank is it that you have gone to present N1000 or N500 notes that have been rejected. So we are not in breach.
“But then, assuming we are in breach, the fact remains that this matter is sub-judice, as you rightly know. It’s being contested before the Supreme Court and when an order is made, you have multiple options within the context of the rule of law.
“One, you are entitled as a matter of right, if the facts and evidence support your position, to apply for setting it aside.
“The position of the law, legal jurisprudence is clear, once you are attacking and you seeking for a setting aside of an existing order of the court, cannot be said to be operating in breach when you presented your application for setting aside.
“If the court is not an apex court, you equally have a right of appeal and support the right of appeal with an application for a stay, of execution order. So the bottom line of what I’m trying to state is if the matter is sub-judice and within the context of the rule of law, we are doing the needful as a government, in terms of ensuring that the right of the government, within the context of the naira redesign, is protected.”
New naira: Supreme Court fixes March 3 for judgment
The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned judgment in the new naira policy suit to March 3, 2023.
With the apex court’s decision, Nigerians, especially consumer and business groups as well as professional and trade unions looking up to the apex court for a favorable judgment (today) that they expect will ameliorate their suffering, will have to wait.
The Supreme Court had on February 8 restrained the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline for swapping the old naira notes with new ones, but the Central Bank of Nigeria refused to shift the deadline.
The injunction was a sequel to a suit filed by Zamfara, Kogi, and Kaduna state governments against the Attorney-General of the Federation on February 3.
Other states including Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Kano, Sokoto, Ogun, and Cross River have also joined the suit as co-plaintiffs.
While taking arguments on Wednesday, counsel for the Federal Government, Kanu Agabi, said the Supreme Court held that all reliefs are rooted in section 20 of the CBN Act.
He argued that the apex court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit as the action cannot commence with an Originating Summons.
He also contended that the plaintiffs did not deem it fit the CBN to court as a respondent despite making reference to the apex bank 32 times in their originating summons and despite the fact that seven of the reliefs sought to relate to the CBN.
He asserted that Nigerians were already turning down the old notes way the President’s directive.
Agabi also asserted that by asking Nigerians to deposit their old naira at the CBN designated centres, the president was abiding by the court order and that Buhari is empowered under the constitution to veto any legislation.
Naira: We won’t be your scapegoat, Supreme Court tells FG, states
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, said it would not allow the Federal and states governments turn the Judiciary to a scapegoat in the legal dispute that is currently trailing the ban on use of the N200, N500 and N1,000 old banknotes as valid legal tenders.
Justice Inyang Okoro, who is heading a seven-man panel of the apex court, made the declaration while consolidating various suits that different states filed to halt the full implementation of the Naira swap policy that was recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The court had, shortly before it stood down its proceedings to allow all the states it joined as interested parties in the matter to regularise their processes, bemoaned the fact that the dispute had placed the judiciary in the eye of the storm.
The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), had before the court went on 10 minutes break, drew attention to the fact that it had yet to receive any process from the Federal Government, in respect of the case.
Onigbanjo noted that with the development, the planned hearing of the consolidated suits of the states may be hampered.
However, Onigbanjo could conclude his submission, the apex court panel restated its resolve to ensure that the matter was expeditiously heard and determined.
“We want to make it very clear that we are going to hear this matter today because we don’t want a situation where the judiciary will be made a scapegoat.
“With the way this matter is going, they want to make the judiciary a scapegoat but we can’t allow that.
“We are going to hear everything and take our decision. If you have a contempt proceeding, we will also hear it today,” leader of the panel, Justice Okoro stated.
Naira redesign mops up N1.8trn from currency outside banks
The implementation of the Naira redesign and withdrawal of old banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has sucked in about N1.81 trillion from the Currency Outside Banks, CoB, while crashing Currency-in-Circulation to N1.4 trillion in January 2023.
Though this development is in line with the policy plan of the apex bank, financial experts have, however, indicated that the development may lead to a further rise in inflation and contraction of the nation’s economy in the first quarter of the year, Q1’23.
Old N500, and N1,000 expired on February 10 —CBN
Meanwhile, the CBN said that the old N500 and N1,000 expired as legal tenders on February 10, urging Nigerians to redeem their stock of old notes at its offices.
Speaking to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, a CBN source said: “In line with Sections 20(3) of the CBN act , the CBN is meant to ensure that those who have old notes but didn’t have the opportunity to deposit them into their banks before February 10, 2023, are able to redeem their stock of the old notes at the CBN for value. Anyone who wishes to do so, has only one / singular opportunity to do so at the CBN after the notes have lost their legal tender status on February 10, 2023. No person is allowed to redeem his/ her notes more than once.
“This is what the CBN is trying to do. To redeem your old notes, you are meant to complete a form on CBN website where you get a CBN code to redeem your old notes. To reduce the crowd at the CBN, it mandated the banks to collect sums below N500,000. As far as CBN is concerned, the old N500 and N1,000 have since expired after February 10 and cannot be accepted as means of exchange for goods and services.”
Again, protest rocks Ogun over naira scarcity, banks burnt
Again, protest has erupted in Ogun State over the naira scarcity, with videos online showing two banks set on fire in the Sagamu area of the state.
The videos shared on Monday showed many residents watching as Keystone and Union banks were set ablaze with some youths holding planks in protest.
On Friday last week, Newsone Nigeria had reported how protest erupted in the Mowe-Ibafo area of Ogun State, with many residents blocking the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in protest of the woes and hardship caused by the lingering scarcity of the naira.
Reacting to the development, a Twitter user, @arranowanna wrote, “Kindly advise your friends, families and acquaintances to avoid any protests. Take your frustration to the ballots on Saturday. Don’t burn banks, don’t burn petrol stations, don’t burn government properties.”
Another user, @morningstar_305 wrote, “I just put a call through to the house and it was confirmed to me that keystone bank and union bank at ijoku has been set ablaze by angry citizens.”
While popular tweep, Pooja, wrote, “If you are in Sagamu, be careful cos there is a protest on new naira notes.”
Atiku backtracks, says CBN naira redesign policy hurting ordinary citizens
Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow commercial banks to accept deposits of the old naira notes.
Over two weeks ago, Atiku backed the currency redesign policy, advising the apex bank not to extend the February 10 deadline for the demonetisation of the old naira notes.
The former vice-president also said any further extension would destroy the purpose and objective of the policy.
Naira redesign: Sowore knocks Atiku over U-turn, says ex-VP ‘opportunistic’
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has knocked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, over his (Atiku’s) stance on the naira crisis ravaging the country.
Sowore said Atiku was an opportunist who thought he could capitalise on the “poverty-inducing” naira redesign policy to win the presidential election.
The publisher of Sahara Reporters stated this in a tweet posted to his Twitter handle on Monday morning.
Sowore alleged that the naira redesign policy was “fraud” targeted at hurting “poor Nigerians.”
“Opportunistic @atiku thought he could capitalise on the poverty-inducing Naira Design to win election. Any real leader would have known that ‘naira design’ fraud was gonna […] hurt poor Nigerians. Reason I keep saying there is no difference. He’s coming to sell everything,” Sowore tweeted.
Naira crisis: Banks shun CBN directive, collect old N1,000, N500
Some Deposit Money Banks on Saturday opened their branches to customers for the purpose of collecting old N500 and N1,000 notes for deposit into their accounts.
This was contrary to the claim by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it did not instruct the banks to continue to collect the old notes from depositors.
On Friday, Newsone Nigeria reported that the CBN had ordered banks to start collecting the old N500 and N1,000 notes from members of the public and pegged the maximum amount they could collect from individuals at N500,000.
The CBN swiftly issued a counter statement signed by the Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, saying it did not give such a directive.