Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, says the old and new notes remain legal tender in Kaduna State pending the supreme court’s decision.
In a televised address on Thursday morning, Buhari said he has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the validity of old N200 notes till April 10. The president also said all existing old N1,000 and N500 notes will remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points for 60 days.
This came less than 24 hours after the supreme court insisted that the old notes were still valid, and adjourned the case filed by several states — including Kaduna — challenging the deadline on the old notes till February 22.
In what appeared to be a counter broadcast on Thursday, el-Rufai said all the old notes would remain legal tender until the apex court determines the suit on the matter.
He also assured residents of the state of efforts to ease the hardship caused by the scarcity of naira notes.
“On behalf of the government of Kaduna state, I wish to express my deepest regret at the needless suffering you are enduring as a result of the prolonged fuel shortage and the difficulties occasioned by the so-called ‘currency redesign’ policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the Kaduna governor said.
“We understand your pain. I assure you that as your state governor, I have been working with my other colleagues to do everything in our power to end these pains.
“Therefore, as your governor, I wish to assure you that the Kaduna State government, in collaboration with elected legislators, traditional institution, elected local government councils, markets, and traders associations will help you collect, record, document, collate and deliver all your old notes to the Kaduna branch of the Central Bank on your behalf into the new ones immediately after the elections.
“We will also ensure the delivery of your new notes to your various locations without any hardship or expense on your part. We shall save you any panic and the stress of a long journey from your community to the CBN office in our state capital, from March until December 2023 if need be.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all the old and new notes shall remain in use as legal tender in Kaduna State until the Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise.
“I therefore appeal to all residents of Kaduna state to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear.
“The Kaduna state government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners. If need be, we shall take further consequential actions according to the law.
“While urging you all not to fall for these antics of the enemies of Nigeria, please be patient and continue to exercise resilience in the face of open provocation and deliberate disinformation.”
The Kaduna State Governor, said the President, has been deceived by the Central Bank of Nigeria led by Godwin Emefiele, over the naira redesign.
“In official briefings to the President, the Central Bank of Nigeria constantly alluded to the fact that the policy also targets politicians who have accumulated a huge war chest for vote-buying during the elections.
“It is now clear that the President has been deceived by the CBN and some elements in his government into buying into this overarching narrative, in the name of ensuring free and fair elections in 2023,” El-Rufai said.
But El-Rufai, who knocked the Federal Government for “disobeying the Supreme Court order” restarting her from banning the use of the old naira notes, insisted that the old naira notes remained legal tender in the state.
El-Rufai assured that no citizen of the state would lose the old naira notes despite the President’s pronouncement, saying, “Let no artificial and illegal deadline frighten you.”
The governor in the broadcast titled, ‘Let us stand up strongly for democracy, peace and national unity,’ said, “There is no reason why the old notes and the new notes should not coexist until the old notes are gradually withdrawn over the years as is done in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
It is unfortunate that in implementing this policy, Nigeria is departing from global best practice, without any compelling justification. The Kaduna State Government did all these, not in opposition to any person or authority, but because we stand with our people and their interests.
“When it was clear that our recommendations will not be seriously considered, the Kaduna State Government decided, along with the governments of Kogi and Zamfara states to declare a dispute with the Federal Government.
“In line with the provisions of the Constitution, we approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria to invoke its original jurisdiction to hear us and the cries of our people. The Court did on February 8, and ordered that the deadline of February 10th for all the ‘old’ notes ceasing to be legal tender be rescinded until the determination of the suit.”
El-Rufai said the ruling applied to the Federal Government and its agencies like the CBN, and all commercial banks.
Nasir el-Rufai, equally alleged that the scarcity of naira notes and petrol shortage is part of a plot to disrupt the elections in order to ensure an interim government takes over.
“It is important for the people of Kaduna state, and indeed Nigeria, to know that contrary to the public pronouncements and apparent good intentions, this policy was conceived and sold to the President by officials who completely lost out in the Gubernatorial and Presidential Primaries of the APC in June 2022,” el-Rufai said.
“Once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest.
“They also sought to achieve any one or more of following objectives: Create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the Party in all the elections;
“Ensure that the cash crunch is so serious, along with the contrived and enduring fuel shortage existing since September 2022, that the 2023 Elections do not hold at all, leading to an interim national government to be led by a retired army general;
“Sustain the climate of shortage of fuel, food and other necessities, leading to mass protests, violence and breakdown of law and order that would provide a fertile foundation for a military take-over.”