Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a pan-northern socio-political organisation, on Saturday requested that the Central Bank of Nigeria postpone the deadline for replacing old currency notes with new ones in all commercial banks nationwide.
The northern group emphasised that by doing this, Nigerians would be spared, especially the misery of losing their hard-earned money, which would be especially painful for rural communities.
In a statement distributed to journalists in Kaduna on Saturday, the ACF made this claim through its Secretary General, Murtala Aliyu.
The Forum stated that the government must take ordinary Nigerians’ misery into consideration and may want to postpone the date of January 31 when the old naira notes would no longer be accepted as legal cash.
The ACF said, “As the deadline for the exchange expires on Tuesday, we are afraid that the majority of our people in the rural areas are unable to change their old currencies for the new ones. This is because even in urban centres, the new notes are scarce.
“Also where the CBN made some arrangements to facilitate such, the exercise is being challenged by numerous factors, such as lack of adequate access to bank services on the part of the people, cumbersome exchange procedure, etc. This has subjected innocent people to hardships, uncertainty and anxiety.
“We are of the strong belief that ordinary people especially in the North will lose their hard-earned money through no fault of theirs. Government must be sensitive to the plight of the citizens to safeguard their interests in all areas.
“Insinuations by some political actors that the exercise is designed deliberately to fail, or cause chaos to sabotage the ongoing democratic process should not be allowed to be proven. Persons who lose their wealth through uncoordinated government policy or actions are likely to assume they have been let down by the said government.
“We appreciate the efforts by the National Assembly to intervene and call to order the arrogance and insensitivity being displayed by the leadership of the Central Bank.
“The ACF strongly calls on the President and the CBN to as a matter of urgency extend the expiration date of the exercise and improve on the arrangements so as to accommodate everyone with genuine cases.”