Currency redesign was a mistake, FG should extend deadline for old naira notes -Kwankwaso


Rabiu Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), says the currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was a mistake.


There has been increased tension in the country as Nigerians scramble to meet up with the CBN’s deadline for the validity of the old naira notes amid poor circulation of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 series.


This has led to several calls for the extension of the demonetisation deadline of January 31.


But the CBN has insisted that there was no going back on the stipulated deadline.


Speaking on Thursday on Arise TV, Kwankwaso said the naira redesign policy was inflicting hardship on Nigerians.


He said the timing was short, noting that there was no way people, especially those in rural areas, will meet the deadline.


The politician added that a lot of people will lose their savings and advised the federal government to extend the deadline.


 “Well, I have listened to all the leaders who are trying to defend the issue of this redesign. As far as we are concerned, those of us in NNPP, we believe that it was a mistake, especially the timing,” Kwankwaso said.


“You cannot just come last minute and create the issue of redesign within a short period of time in our circumstance today in this country. Three months is not adequate. If you look at currencies all over the world, people will stay for decades with the same currency without changing or redesigning.


“My advice, based on the reality on the ground, because we are the people in touch with people at the grassroots. People are suffering, and worried. I can assure you by the 31st of this month, there is no way Nigerians, especially people in the rural areas, people with no banks in their local government, can do this change within the stipulated time.


“In other words, so many people will lose their savings. So, many people will run into crisis. These are innocent people; people who have earned a living, and worked so hard.

 “Government, in our opinion, should reverse this position because some are saying they don’t even have the money on the ground.


“Some are saying the very people they wanted to suffocate, that’s the senior politicians, who we believe can never be suffocated.


“Some of these parties’ candidates are owners of banks. The two parties have got governors everywhere. Governors who order banks to bring as much money, the whole money in the state, to the government house and keep.


“If you’re dealing with bank owners and people who have trillions, billions in the banks, you cannot do anything. The money meant for the people will all be packed by these money bags and that is a very serious problem.”



Kwankwaso said rather than taking a hard stance on the old notes deadline, the federal government could channel that into dealing with insecurity in the country.


 “My suggestion is: please, federal government, don’t say no going back. This is not a situation of no going back. If you want a situation of no going back, please, we want to hear you talk about the bandits in the north-west or Boko Haram in the north-east, or other criminals elsewhere,” he said.


“No going back, you are going to clear them, that is good. But no going back, in this case, is not the best.


 “Extend time. If you don’t want to or you don’t have money, allow people to go deposit and keep their money and when you have money, you’ll pay them. I think that will help.”

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