by Isi Esene
Civil society groups in the country have expressed their readiness to once again hit the streets in protest over the planned introduction of new N5,000 note by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to reports, the groups are currently mobilizing and consulting with stakeholders to devise the best possible approach to register their discontent regarding the planned currency review.
The national co-ordinator of the Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People, Amitolu Shittu, said, “We have already discussed the issue in our meeting on Thursday, and we are hopefully going to finalise on our action plan the third anniversary of the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, on September 5. We will ensure that we stop this satanic plan by government to make us suffer.
“The fact that they want to spend N40bn on the new notes that we don’t need shows that they don’t care about us. And we will resist every attempt to destroy our economy. By planning to print N5,000 note, they are only trying to make it easier for those who steal our money,” he stated.
Dr. Okei Joe-Odumakin, the president of the Campaign for Democracy, a leading civil society group, confirmed the plan saying, “We have started mobilizing our people and we are telling Nigerians to be ready in case they are called upon to come out on the streets. The fact is that we as civil society groups will do our part within the ambit of the law, but they might still go ahead, because we have leaders who do not listen. But at the end of the day, it will be recorded that Nigerians opposed it.”
While agreeing with the sentiments put forward by other civil society groups, the chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, said his group is planning on addressing a press conference in the next few days to make its position known.
“For now, we are still consulting on the issue. There is still the argument as to whether the issue deserves that much effort in the midst of other issues that we want to hold the government accountable for. We are looking at all issues associated with the currency review. Within next week, an aggregate of civil society groups in the South will address a press conference on the issue,” he said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria recently announced a planned currency review which will see the introduction of a single N5,000 note and the conversion of N5, N10, and N20 into coins.
The planned currency change which is to take effect in 2013, has attracted lots of criticisms from analysts and stakeholders who see it as being at variance with the recently introduced CBN Cashless policy.
The National Assembly and the CBN last Thursday disagreed on the mandate of the latter in currency restructuring project.