By Olamide Fakeye
Nigeria - As the scarcity of naira bites harder following the redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity has sued for calm, urging Nigerians to shun violence.
The group in a statement issued by it NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje entitled, Naira Redesign debacle: Suffering Nigerians need urgent solutions’, unequivocally discourages violence over the demeaning inconvenience they have been subjected to as fallout of naira scarcity, also advocated for remedial actions for Nigerians in line with the Federal Government obligation to cater for the economic well being of the people.
He said, NAS viewed the "shambolic implementation of the new currency as disappointing and unacceptable".
According to Owoaje, Nigerians have been made to go through excruciating suffering caused by the naira scarcity which has crippled trading and gradually shutting down the economy.
Owoaje, while noting the constitutional powers of CBN on the redesign policy and reasons advanced for its implementation, however carpeted the apex bank for the three-month notice, adding that "argument by the CBN and Federal Government officials that the three-month window was enough is unreasonable and is not validated by any factual calculation or consideration".
Owoaje who stated that other countries have executed efficient templates for implementation of currency redesign added that the CBN should have been aware of the "infrastructural and strategic planning requirements for making a success of this exercise".
"For instance, reliable and interconnected electronic payment systems, efficient digital platforms, wide accessibility to end-users, general awareness and technical expertise, and efficient error remediation systems are important steps for making such a currency redesign project a success. There is no evidence that the CBN had ensured that these steps were in place before embarking on this ambitious programme and preventing the trauma and hardship that have been unleashed on Nigerians nationwide", he said.
The NAS leader has therefore advocated that the CBN pump more money into the financial system to debunk the allegation it printed only ₦300 billion new notes.
He called for a wholesale review of the cashless policy with a view to identifying lacunae in the enabling infrastructure and technical expertise especially in liaison with Fintech companies to mitigate hardship on Nigerians.
Furthermore, he urged state governors to emulate Lagos and Borno state governors, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Babagana Zulum in rolling out welfare packages for citizens to ameliorate their suffering.
Owoaje also urged the CBN to grant all the concessions requested by INEC to ensure hitch-free general elections while calling on the anti-graft agencies to double up their efforts at fishing out all those hoarding and selling the new notes.
“The past few weeks have been traumatic for Nigerians, many who can no longer bear the severe difficulties encountered due to the scarcity of naira. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to cater for the well being of Nigerians, now is the time for effective action before it is too late,” he added.