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New naira: Old N200 notes will not be sufficient – Falana

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Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Thursday, said the message of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd, did not give assurance that the suffering in Nigeria “will end anytime soon”.

The senior lawyer also noted that the old N200 notes are not enough to go round.

Buhari, during a national broadcast on Thursday morning, gave the directive for the old N200 naira notes to remain in circulation till April 10, 2023 while the old N500 and N1,000 notes cease to remain legal tender.

Speaking in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, Falan said, “After 13 days (rather than seven) President Buhari eventually announced a decision this morning. But it is not enough to end the crisis. There are not enough old 200 naira notes to replace all the old N1,000 and N500 notes. In addition, the new deadline of 10th of April is too close.

“If the government was serious, the crisis could be ended in a few days. All the old currency notes could be made legal tender until the end of the year. In addition, all the old currency could be changed at the banks as well as at the CBN until the end of next year. This would give confidence back in the markets and the old currency would again be accepted.

“The problem is that the corrupt elite thinks that increased suffering and deaths of the common people is a price worth paying if they defeat their opponents. Hungry people can no longer buy food and so they are in more danger of dying from common diseases. People cannot afford to travel to hospital. If they get there, they cannot afford tests. If they take the tests, they cannot afford the medicine.

“This crisis was created by the government. It is only the government that can end the crisis. The government could end this crisis in a matter of days. The CBN could issue old currency notes to the banks to issue to the public in a matter of days. That is all that is needed to end the crisis. The untold crisis across the country, the misery, suffering and deaths are a result of a fight between different clans of the corrupt elite. The common people are suffering as a result of disputes over who will loot for the next four years or more.

“Unless firm action is taken, this crisis will get worse in the days to come. The suffering and anger is likely to make violence around the election worse. Then we still have to suffer the Buhari Government for at least another three months. Any alternative to this will only make the situation worse”.

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