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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Senate in rowdy session over Debates on  CBN Naira Redesign Policy



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By Abdulateef Bamgbose
Rowdy session ensued on the floor of the Senate Wednesday during  debate on Naira Redesign Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN).
Debate on the policy by Senators was sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator Uba Sani ( APC  Kaduna Central).
Senator Sani who chairs the Senate  Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, had  in  the prayers to his motion , urged the Senate to provide legislative support for the policy.
He also wants the red chamber to mandate  his Committee to embark on aggressive oversight on the policy slated to take full effect on January 31, 2023.
Trouble started on the debate when senators Ali Ndume, Abiodun Olujimi, Betty Apiafi, Barau Jibrin, Chukwuka Utazi, and Orji Uzor Kalu, supported the CBN policy but suggested the extension of the deadline for compliance.
Kalu specifically wanted the Senate to invite the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to throw more light on the policy while he should be persuaded to extend the deadline to April 30, 2023.
But Senator Gabriel Suswan disagreed with Kalu and others claiming that CBN Governor has always shunned the Senate invitations.
He urged his colleagues to ignore the CBN policy and let the country damn the consequences.
Senator Bassey Akpan stressed the need to support the CBN Governor. He said there should be no discussion on the matter.
Suswan and Akpan’s submissions did not go down well with those seeking the extension of the deadline and the chamber turned rowdy.
It took the persistent appeals by the presiding officer, Omo-Agege to resolve normalcy after about 15 minutes of  hot arguments among the senators.
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said it was the prerogatives of the CBN to redesign the naira and put deadline for compliance.
The Senate, after the rowdy session, offered to provide legislative support for the policy.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions to go on oversight.
Senator Ali Ndume had earlier said there are are only five banks in the entire 27 local government areas in Borno State since the insurgency started in the state.
Senator Abiodun Olujimi, also said one and half month was 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 Betty Apiafi said rural banking had been shut down hence the January deadline should be extended.
She said counterfeing wasn’t enough to change the naira.
She said the implications of the redesign should be criticality examined in view of the fact that bandits have said they would be collecting ransom I’m foreign currencies.
Senator Barau Jibrin, said naira redesign cannot not halt terrorism but could only reduce it.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi said, because of the rural nature of the country, the leadership of the Senate should interface with the CBN Governor to explain the implications on the peculiarity of the country. CBN shouod visit all the rural communities to get first hand information.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, suggested the extension of the deadline from January 31 to April 31 and that the Committee on Banking and Finance should meet with the CBN Governor on the matter.

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