By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent Lagos/
LAGOS– A private security consultant and Managing Director of Badison Security Limited, Mr. Matthew Ibadin has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase the minting of N100 notes and other lower denominations like N50, N20, N10 and N5 notes and pushed them into circulation as against the redesigned higher denominations of N1000, N500 and N200. Mr. Ibadin is also muting for a return to the use of coins for other lower denominations like 10 Kobo, 5kobo and 1 Kobo. To make for easy use of the coins for transactions as it is done in places like United States of America, he is suggesting a reduction in the weight of 10 Kobo and other coins and make them lighter.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos weekend, the highly cerebra security mogul noted that in spite of what he describes as temporary hardship Nigerians are currently going through, the availability of lower denominations of the naira in circulation would add some value to our currency and by implication, the economy. The security consultant said that before the redesign and swap of the old higher denominations of the naira, the lower denominations particularly the N50, N20 N10 and N5 notes were becoming unacceptable and near worthless for business transactions in many quarters; adding, “With the gradual non- release of the higher denominations to depositors by the commercial banks in the last few days, the lower denominations have started getting some attractions.”
The Badison Security boss further stated that with more availability of lower denominations in circulation for business transactions both in urban and rural areas, there would be value addition to our currency thereby, reducing inflation and the ease with which corrupt politicians and public servants siphon and stash away bulk of higher denominations. He added that the much availability of higher denominations in circulation had unarguably led to high demand by kidnappers in ransom as it was possible to keep millions of higher denominations by many Nigerians. Conversely, he said “A high degree of unavailability of N1000, N500 notes in particular would make kidnappers have a rethink in their demand for ransom.”
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Continuing, Ibadin also noted that the availability of higher denominations of the naira in circulation particularly in the hands of politicians makes it easier for vote buying as the bulk of higher denominations are easier to carry from one place to another than the lower denominations. For this, he has commended President Muhammadu Buhari in his concerted effort to ensure that the forthcoming elections are free and fair without vote buying. He has therefore, advised management of the CBN to increase the volume of lower denominations in circulation payable through commercial bank counters and Automated Teller Machines (ATM); adding that CBN should not be distracted by the criticisms and condemnations in some quarters in relation to the naira redesign and deadline for the return of the old notes.
The Badison Chieftain has therefore, called on Nigerians to support Buhari in his effort to ensure that the forthcoming elections are not hijacked by desperate politicians, stressing that this would be the first time in Nigeria that a sitting President would be so determined to ensure free and fair election devoid of partisanship. He expressed optimism that the current hardship inflicted on Nigerians by the scarcity of the new naira notes would be eased off soon after the election as the Central Bank of Nigeria is expected to massively release the new notes soon after the election. It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had ruled on an ex parte motion brought by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States seeking to halt the CBN from implementing the February 10 deadline for the currency swap.
The Apex court had ruled in favour of the States but the CBN management and the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice reacted to the ruling, insisting that the February 10 deadline remained sacrosant. However, following the intervention of the Council of States last week, President Buhari in his national broadcast on February 16, 2023, briefly reviewed the deadline by extending the life of the old N200 note to April 10, 2023 when it would cease to be a legal tender. The old N500 and N1000 notes are no longer legal tender as their validity expired on the February 10.
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