The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been described as inconsiderate and insensitive to the plight of the citizens.
This is as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been accused of playing hide-and-seek on the circulation of the new naira notes.
This formed the basis of the text of a press conference jointly addressed by the Osun Civil Societies Coalition and the People’s Advocates on the lingering scarcity of fuel and the redesigned Naira notes in the country on Monday, February 6, 2023, in Osogbo.
The statement jointly signed by Waheed Lawal and Emmanuel Olowu, Chairman and Publicity Secretary, Osun Civil Societies Coalition and The Peoples Advocates alluded to the fact that Nigerians are going through hell to get fuel and cash for personal use and business purposes.
While accusing the CBN of refusal to make available the redesigned Naira notes, they alleged that it amounted to a deliberate attempt to punish Nigerians unjustly.
It also demanded that the Central Bank of Nigeria make enough amount of the new Naira notes available to the banks for onward disbursement to the general public.
“Considering the pains being experienced by the common men in getting cash for their livelihood, it would not be out of place to declare that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is inconsiderate and insensitive to the plight of the citizens.
“We need not to tell you the agony of Nigerians who queue for more than six hours to get cash from ATM. Some people are even unlucky as they will not be able to get cash at the end of the day after spending several hours in the queue.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria led by Mr Godwin Emefiele has clearly been playing hide-and-seek in the circulation of the new naira notes. We acknowledged the fact that there are saboteurs among the top echelon of the banking industries but the CBN has not also released enough amount of the redesigned denominations to banks through which they can be disbursed to the generality of people. This is responsible for the ridiculous amount of cash being paid to people over the counter.
“Economically, the scarcity of cash has crippled many businesses and further pushed millions of Nigerians far below the poverty line. Petty traders no longer make sales because of cash transactions which their trading depends upon. We make bold to say that this financial policy of the Federal Government is doing more harm than good presently. There should have been another way round to maintain a balance between cash control and the wellbeing of the people.”
Describing the sufferings of Nigerians as double jeopardy, the Civil Societies Organisations added that President Muhammadu Buhari has been laying lip service to ensuring that fuel is available at an affordable rate for Nigerians even as he directly supervises the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“It equally speaks volumes of a President that has been supervising everything that has to do with petroleum resources to ask for seven days to address the fuel scarcity.
“The two key issues have taken away the dignity of the majority of Nigerians. We have seen videos where men and women stripped themselves naked in protest against their inability to get cash. Car owners have long been sleeping at filling stations for fuel. Many people have been injured as a result of fights at filling stations and ATM centres. In Osun today, we have filling stations selling fuel between N350 and N400 per litre. The masses remain the end receiver of this economic mismanagement. The reverberating effect falls on the common people who go to the market to buy foodstuffs, board public transport, pay bills, etc.”
While calling for an urgent address of the calamities, the group warned that if action is not taken, violent protests may be triggered nationwide.
“It is the awareness of this fact, coupled with the intelligence report that made us to suspend the mass protest that was supposed to be held today. We do not want to create a platform for some elements whose only language is violence. The outcome of last week’s protest in Ibadan and Benin is an indication that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. The hardship is becoming unbearable to the generality of the people.
“While we suspend our protest for today, we will hit the streets anytime soon if the cash and fuel scarcity persists.”
The group also called on security operatives and anti-graft agencies to go after bank managers and other officials who have been hoarding the new naira notes and sabotaging other processes of getting the new denominations widely circulated.
While demanding an end to fuel scarcity, they also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be more sensitive to the plight of the people.
Fuel, Naira scarcity: Osun CSOs accuse Buhari, Emefiele of insensitivity