The House of Representatives has been divided by the old naira notes controversy with those supporting and rejecting the extension of deadline for the exchange of the affected currency from January 31 to February 10.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday extended the deadline for the change of old naira notes by 10 days to allow collection of the old notes.
But in a reaction, the House ad-hoc committee on naira re-design and naira swap policy rejected extension granted by the CBN.
The adhoc committee, chaired by the leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, opposed the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 (3), (4), and (5) of the CBN Act.
Doguwa said that: ” The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution. We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.
“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Adhoc committee.”
The majority leader said under his chairmanship, the Committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
Describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa said the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed by the Speaker.
He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections, noting that: “security agencies and their operations especially at the states level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections.”
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On the other hand, the minority caucus in the House applauded the CBN for listening to Nigerians and extending the deadline for swapping of the old naira notes for new ones by 10 days.
Minority leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu said the extension is a welcome decision to ease the suffering as well as social and economic discomfort being faced by many Nigerians in accessing the new naira notes within the earlier stipulated deadline.
“As lawmakers and representatives of the people, our caucus commends the CBN for being considerate towards the wellbeing of Nigerians; which is the essence of democratic governance all over the world,” he said.
The caucus applauded the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, for his intervention in persuading President Buhari and CBN to extend the earlier deadline in the national interest.
“His Excellency Atiku Abubakar’s patriotic intervention at this time further shows him as a compassionate leader who is always concerned and committed towards the wellbeing of Nigerians. He has again demonstrated his experience, capacity, and competence to get the system to work in the interest of Nigerians at very critical time,” he said.
“Our caucus calls on Nigerians not to rest on their oars but to take maximum advantage of the 10 days extension to swap their old naira notes for the new ones
“The minority caucus also urges the CBN to remain focused and intensify its sensitization efforts while putting every measure in place to assist Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas, to access the new naira notes.”