Nigeria: Naira Redesign - You Can't Absolve Yourself of Blame, CSOs Tell President Muhammadu Buhari

15 March 2023

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have told President Muhammadu Buhari that he cannot exonerate himself from the current naira crisis and the suffering it has brought on the masses.

According to the CSOs, even when the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, said she was not aware of the policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directives.

The CSOs were reacting to a recent statement by the presidency absolving the president from blame at the hardship the naira redesign policy had brought on Nigerians

The CSOs that spoke to LEADERSHIP - Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Transparency International (TI) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) - said the naira policy only affected the poor, adding that small scale businesses have been killed.

Leader of TMG, TI, and CISLAC, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, said President Buhari must take the blame for the failure and the hardship imposed on Nigerians as a result of the naira policy.

"It clearly shows that Buhari is a poor manager in government. He does not have control and understanding of what he is supposed to do. The president cannot exonerate himself from the hardship Nigerians are going through.

"President Buhari has been quoted in several interviews as saying he likes the policy of the CBN and that it will be good. The president was the one who, after a meeting with the CBN governor, defended the policy. It is insensitive for such a man to exonerate himself.

"President Buhari needs to apologise to Nigerians because the policy has nothing to do with the fight against corruption; neither is it aimed at improving the economy. It is the poor masses that are suffering because the policy will not affect the big men; it is small scale businesses that have crashed. The president put Nigerians in harsh conditions.

"If this is the reward he is giving the poor for voting for him, it is unfortunate. His leadership has fallen from grace to grass. He was the man of the poor masses but his inability to rescue the country from bad economy, bad governance and corruption affected the poor. Look at the exchange rate today.

"The president spent a lot of money buying equipment to fight insecurity but nothing serious to show for it. This is a shame that after he put people in a mess, he is exonerating himself.

"The CBN governor said the president gave him the approval for this kind of policy when the Minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, raised an objection. So, President Buhari cannot exonerate himself," the CSOs added.

Also, a senior lawyer, Dr. Emma Okah, told President Muhammadu Buhari to own up to his faults in the mismanagement of the crisis caused by the scarcity of naira notes.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday, Okah said Buhari appointed the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele and can fire him when he feels he (Emefiele) had flouted his directives .

According to him, it is embarrassing for the president to run away from his responsibility and choose to blame his appointees.

Okah said, "This is embarrassing, to say the least. The captain of the boat cannot run away from responsibility and begin to blame the cleaners. The president must own his faults in mismanaging the Naira crisis. He chose the CBN governor and he can fire him if he feels that his directives are flouted. Turning to disclaim responsibility is cowardly."

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