Senate in rowdy session over naira redesign

 Senate in rowdy session over naira redesign

Senate in rowdy session over naira redesign

Abuja—The Senate yesterday witnessed a rowdy session as senators deliberated a motion on the Naira Redesign Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It, however, mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance, and other Financial Institutions to embark on an aggressive oversight to ensure Nigerians are adequately protected from the CBN, banks, and other agencies involved in the process. 

Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion on the policy moved by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani, APC, Kaduna Central. 

Sani, in the motion, urged the Senate to provide legislative support for the policy, and asked it to mandate his committee to embark on aggressive oversight on the matter.

He called the Senate to support the CBN redesign policy, including the January 31 deadline for compliance.

Matters, however, turned controversial as Senators Ali Ndume, Abiodun Olujimi, Betty Apiafi, Barau Jibrin, Chukwuka Utazi, and Orji Kalu, supported the CBN policy but suggested the extension of the deadline for compliance.

Kalu specifically asked the Senate to invite governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to throw more light on the policy, praying that he should be persuaded to extend the deadline to April 30, 2023.

But Senator Gabriel Suswam disagreed with Kalu and others, claiming that the CBN governor had always shunned Senate’s invitations.

He urged his colleagues to ignore the CBN policy and let the country damn the consequences.

In his contribution, Senator Bassey Akpan, stressed the need to support the CBN governor, adding that there should be no discussion on the matter.

Suswam and Akpan’s submissions did not go down well with those seeking the extension of the deadline, and this led to a rowdy session at plenary.

It took the persistent appeals by the presiding officer and Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, to bring calm to the floor after 10 minutes of intense arguments among senators.

Senator Ndume had earlier said there were only five banks in the entire 27 local government areas of Borno State since the insurgency started in the state.

Senator Olujimi also said one and a half month is too short to withdraw all the money in circulation to avoid shutting down the economy.

She said the Senate should invite the CBN governor for further explanation on the issue.

Senator Apiafi said rural banking had been shut down, hence the January deadline should be extended.

She said counterfeiting is not enough reason to change the naira notes, adding that the implications of the redesign should be criticality examined, in view of the fact that bandits had said they would be collecting ransom in foreign currencies if the naira notes were redesigned.

Senator Barau Jibrin said naira redesign cannot halt terrorism but only reduce it.


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