Ganduje Tells Buhari To Shelve Kano Visit
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, stated that the redesign of the country’s currency by his administration was targeted at those hoarding illicit funds and not the common man.
Buhari, however, assured that the government will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses, and that no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain, arising from the currency swap due to end shortly.
Reacting to reports of long queues of citizens waiting for hours to deposit old notes and get new ones, Buhari reiterated that the redesign was aimed at people hoarding illicit funds, and not the common man, stressing that “it had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorism funding.”
He expressed optimism that the new effort will help to stabilise and strengthen the economy.
While taking note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship, as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, Buhari gave strong assurances that the Federal Government will not leave them to their fate.
According to the president, a number of initiatives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and all commercial banks are underway to speed up the distribution of the new notes besides doing all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.
Meanwhile, the Kano State government formally requested the Presidency to postpone a two-day official visit of President Buhari, to Kano.
President Buhari is scheduled to arrive Kano, tomorrow, Monday 30, for the unveiling of seven legacy projects executed by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. They include a 10- megawatt hydropower plant; a multi-billion naira cancer treatment centre and the Dala Inland Dry Port among others.
Addressing stakeholders, including Islamic scholars, state legislators, political leaders, and the business community Friday evening, at the Government House, Ganduje disclosed that the state government was compelled to write the Presidency on the need for Buhari to shelve his coming to Kano because of the fragile state of security in the country.
Ganduje expressed worries that Nigerians were presently undergoing difficult times occasioned by the monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that Buhari’s visit may be greeted by unforeseen circumstances that could threaten his security.
“Deeply concerned with the hardship caused by the limited time given for halting the use of old naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and for security reasons, we have written to the Presidency that the visit of the president to commission some projects to be postponed.
“As we are waiting for this important visit, we found ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. So, for security purposes, we have written to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano is postponed. We have got an acknowledgment copy of the letter. People are suffering because of this policy,” Ganduje said.
Ganduje affirmed that before the government’s stand, consultations were held, and a unanimous decision was taken in support of the letter sent to the Presidency.
A statement by Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, two serving senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya, and Barau Jibrin, 20 members of the House of Representatives and 30 legislators from the State House of Assembly were amongst the groups that put their weight behind the decision.
Lamenting the CBN’s policy, Ganduje said: “There are no banks in most of our rural communities. So, how the people get the new naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas, where people go and spend several hours in banks without any assurance of getting new notes. Even at Point of Sales (PoS), one cannot transact with ease, many of the PoS operators are now planning to close shops due to uncertainty.