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Banks to accept old naira notes after deadline  — CBN

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…As Emefiele appear before House of Representative

…as money supply in Nigeria rose to N52.14 trillion in 2022 despite policies

By Seun Ibiyemi

Sequel to the February 10 deadline for withdrawal of old notes, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that banks will continue to accept old naira notes.

Emefiele revealed this on Tuesday while speaking at an interactive session with the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the currency redesign and naira swap policy.

He said the CBN will also accept the old naira notes from banks after the February 10 deadline.

The apex bank boss made reference to the CBN act which mandates the apex bank to continue to accept old notes after its expiration but did not mention a duration when the banks will stop collecting the old notes.

Section 20 (3) of the CBN act states: “Notwithstanding sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section, the bank shall have power, if directed to do so by the president and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this sub-section, shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be legal tender, but, subject to section 22 of this act, shall be redeemed by the bank upon demand.”

Speaking further on the CBN act, he explained that even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status “we (CBN) are mandated to collect these money (old notes) and I stand with the House of Representatives on this.”

Emefiele added, “What does that mean? It could (old notes) have lost its legal tender status which means we have moved on. But if you have your money that you have not been able to send to the bank, we will certainly give you the opportunity to bring them back into the CBN to redeem it. Either you pay it to your bank account or you want to do exchange, we will give you. You will not lose your money. This is the assurance I give to Nigerians.”

Recall that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had declared that a warrant of arrest would be issued against Godwin Emefiele if he failed to appear before the committee.

The House threatened to invoke the provisions of section 89(1)(d) of the Constitution by issuing a warrant of arrest today to compel him to appear.

Emefiele, who was supposed to appear before the Committee last week, failed to do, stating he was out of the country with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The House had set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the scarcity of the new naira at the Deposit Money Banks, also known as commercial banks, leading to tension over the January 31 deadline for the exchange of the old notes with the newly designed ones among other reasons.

Although the CBN, on Sunday, extended the deadline on the expiration of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 noted by 10 days – from January 31 to February 10, with the Deposit Money Banks (commercial banks) allowed to accept the notes by seven days more, the House had insisted on Emefiele’s appearance.

Emefiele who appeared with some of his assistants, went into a brief Executive session with members of the committee.

Money supply in Nigeria rose to N52.14 trillion in 2022 despite policies

However, despite many moves by the CBN to mop up liquidity in the Nigerian economy last year, the nation’s money supply still rose to an all-time high of N52.14 trillion.

According to data from the apex bank, Nigeria’s money supply gained a massive N8.32 trillion in the review year after jumping from N43.82 trillion in 2021. This indicates an increase of 19 per cent year-on-year.

Nigeria recorded a record-level inflation rate in 2022 triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war and the global energy crisis. In November 2022, Nigeria’s inflation rate climbed to a 17-year high of 21.47 per cent moderating albeit slightly to 21.34 per cent in the following month.

In a bid to tame the rising rate of inflation in the country, which had increased for 11 successive months, the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised the benchmark interest rate (MPR) by a collective 500 basis points to 16.5 per cent in November 2022.

The committee however followed with an additional 100 basis points increase to 17.5 per cent in January 2023.

The tightening stance of the CBN was aimed at reducing the money supply in the country and currency outside the vaults of the banks, which is believed to be fuelling the inflationary pressure. Unfortunately, the increase in money supply has remained unabated, consistently trending upward since August 2022.

The money supply, which is a function of the level of liquidity in the economy comprises net foreign assets and net domestic assets.

According to the data, net foreign assets stood at N4.25 trillion as of December 2022, an N4.56 trillion decline when compared to N8.81 trillion recorded as of the corresponding period of 2021.

On the other hand, net domestic assets rose by a whopping N12.88 trillion in the review year to stand at N47.89 trillion from N35 trillion the previous year. This implies that Nigeria’s money supply growth is driven by the surge in net domestic assets.

This is largely driven by the increase in domestic credit, which stood at N66.46 trillion as of the end of the year.

Further breakdown showed that credit to the government increased by the huge sum of N11.33 trillion to stand at N24.66 trillion, while credit to the private sector increased by N6.6 trillion to stand at N41.8 trillion in the same period.

The total currency in circulation in the Nigerian economy stood at N3.01 trillion at the end of the year, an N313.1 billion reduction compared to N3.33 trillion recorded in the previous year.

Currency outside the vaults of the banks also stood at N2.57 trillion, representing 85.2 per cent of the total currency in circulation.

In a swift response to the extension, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr Muda Yusuf, has expressed concern that the seven days added after February 10th as the deadline for the old naira notes is not enough and not possible, “it is a big joke, because the house is calling for at least extra six months for people to be able to return the money so that the pressure on people will not be much.”

He said “as at today, many banks still don’t have the new naira notes, many ATMs as well are not dispensing and we still can’t get cash over the counter so anything short of three months for people to return the old notes will not address this problem on ground. So that seven days cannot work.

Speaking on sales of new naira notes, he said “CBN has talked about corruption that the EFCC and ICPC will get involved.

“So corruption within the system is contributing to this problem because the bank officials has turned this thing to business and we are now dealing with another black market situation just as we have black market in fuel.

“We now have black market in currency exchange so it is now a business to them and it is the bank in collusion with those POS operators and those that are selling the money at event centers, those are the people in the league of this business. So the responsibility of the CBN is to go and sanitize the system because that system is within his purview.

“But to remove all this pressure and corruption the best thing is to give minimum of three months for this two currencies to exist side by side while they gradually withdraw the old ones because what is happening now is that people deposit their money in the bank but can’t get it out to do their business so they have paralyzed people’s business.

Some people that is all the working capital they have. Imagine for example somebody puts in maybe 500,000 you now ask the person to go and queue at the ATM to collect only 20,000 is that fair to such person? No it is not.

“So if they don’t have enough money, they should allow both the old notes and the new ones exist together till they gradually fix out the old naira notes or for every deposit they receive they should be able to give people back equivalent of what people deposit so that people can carry on with their business not giving them 20,000 after they deposited 500,00. what will they do with that amount especially all these our traders, the former sector people some people even travel from very far places to come to these banks.

“I feel we are just subjecting our citizens to unnecessary hardship, completely unnecessary hardship,” he said.

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Ondo 2024: APC will remain party of choice — Sanwo-Olu

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…Receives congratulatory letter as Zonal Coordinator for APC South-West

…South-West APC leaders back Lagos Governor as Zonal Coordinator

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-West Zone will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the party remains the party of choice.

Sanwo-Olu stated this position as the preparation for the November 16 governorship election in Ondo state is in top gear.

According to a press release signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu said members of the National Working Committee and Zonal Working Committee in the zone had resolved to intervene on issues and engage with critical stakeholders to ensure they were not only taken care of but also enjoyed the dividends of democracy.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who is the APC Zonal Coordinator for South-West pledged to live up to the responsibility by working with the entire team to reposition and strengthen the party in the South-West.

It would be recalled that the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, inaugurated and presented letters to six governors at the party headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, March 26, to coordinate party activities and reconcile aggrieved members of the party in each of the six geo-political zones.

The zonal coordinators are Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (South-West), Hope Uzodinma of Imo (South-East), Bassey Otu of Cross River (South-South), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara (North-Central), Mai Mala Buni of Yobe (North-East), and Uba Sani of Kaduna (North-West).

Speaking to journalists after a meeting with the APC National and Zonal Executive members from the South-West at Lagos House, Marina, on Sunday, Sanwo-Olu said the inaugural meeting with the party’s national and zonal executives was to deliberate and come up with far-reaching decisions that would put the party on its feet and the right pedestal.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was handed a congratulatory letter on his appointment as the Zonal Coordinator for APC South-West by the officials.

He said, “We are engaging in all the issues that we have in all our states and trying to bring all of us together. We are beginning to look at areas where we can indeed intervene as a zone, especially with critical stakeholders. We have identified students, youths, and people living with disabilities. We all have things we can do differently.

“We all have things from the South-West that we can continue to push into our national conversation to ensure that the stakeholders in the region are very focused and ensure that people feel the real dividends of democracy. And to generally put APC as the biggest party in Africa, the biggest party in the country, and to continue to remain the biggest party in the South-West.

“We have identified the places we need to work, and the work is continuous. We are working in Oyo State. We will continue to work in Osun State. We will continue to work in Ondo State. Ondo State has a unique issue because we have an election coming up that affects all parties.

“There are candidates that have been thrown out; there are people who have aspired to be aspirants and will turn out to be candidates after the primary elections. We are all brothers and sisters; we will resolve all our issues in-house, and I want to assure you that APC will continue to remain the party of choice in Ondo State.”

Also speaking at the inaugural meeting, the national and zonal officers of APC in the South-West passed a vote of confidence in Governor Sanwo-Olu, saying the appointment of the Governor as zonal coordinator by the national leadership of the party is well deserved.

The APC national and zonal officers from the South-West, while presenting a congratulatory letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu during their inaugural meeting with the Governor, pledged their support and loyalty to the Zonal Coordinator as he leads the South-West of the party to strengthen and reposition it for the future.

Reading a communiqué after the meeting, APC National Vice Chairman (South-West), Hon. Isaac Kekemeke, said they have decided to ensure harmonisation and reconciliation in all the states in the South-West, particularly in Oyo, Osun, and Ondo State, where the party will participate in a governorship election later this year.

He said they also resolved to prioritise empowerment and engagement with students, youths, women, and persons with disabilities, amongst other initiatives.

The communique read, “After discussing the challenges facing the party in the South-West zone, the meeting resolved to immediately set up a zonal office of the party in Ibadan and also to immediately set up a liaison and operational office in Lagos since the zonal coordinator is the Governor of Lagos.

“The meeting also resolved, as part of engagement with the leadership, formal and informal, of the party, to convene a South-West Assembly of the All Progressives Congress in early June this year.

“The meeting also resolved that, under the leadership of Governor Sanwo-Olu, this forum will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders, to ensure their empowerment and productive engagement by the government of the federation and various governments in the South-West.”

Among the APC national and zonal executive members from South-West who attended the meeting are; National Secretary, Senator Bashir Ajibola; National Youth Leader, Mr. Dayo Israel; Deputy National Auditor, Hon. Femi Egbedeyi; National Ex-Officio Member (South-West), Hon. Olubunmi Oriniowo; National Vice Chairman (South-West), Hon. Isaac Kekemeke; Zonal Secretary, Hon. Vincent Bewaji; Zonal Organising Secretary, Dr. Lateef Ibirogba; Zonal Publicity Secretary, Chief Ayo Afolabi.

Others are Zonal Woman Leader, Hon. Yetunde Adesanya; Zonal Leader of People Living with Disability, Comrade Moshood Erubami and APC Chairmen in South-West states, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi (Lagos), Chief Yemi Sanusi (Ogun), Chief Isaac Omodewu (Oyo),  Sooko Tajudeen Lawal (Osun), Engr. Ade Adetimehin (Ondo) and  Hon. Sola Elesin (Ekiti).

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Alleged misappropriation: EFCC recovers N32.7bn, $445,000 from Humanitarian Ministry amid corruption probe

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..Uncovers extensive fraud in COVID-19 funds, W’Bank loan, Abacha loot allocations

…Vows crackdown on Naira abuse, reveals several celebrities are under investigation

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has made significant strides in its investigation into alleged corruption within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

According to a statement released by the EFCC’s Head of Media & Publicity, Mr. Dele Oyewale, the Commission has recovered a staggering sum of N32.7 billion along with $445,000 from the ministry.

This revelation comes amidst a flurry of commentaries, opinions, and assumptions surrounding the ongoing probe.

The EFCC emphasised the importance of setting the record straight, as misinformation and speculation have been rampant.

According to the statement, “EFCC has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry Of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the ministry were invited by the commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far,” Oyewale said.

…EFCC uncovers extensive fraud in COVID-19 funds, Abacha loot allocations

The EFCC revealed that its discreet investigations have uncovered additional fraudulent activities related to COVID-19 funds, the World Bank loan, and allocations from the Abacha recovered loot designated for poverty alleviation initiatives within the ministry.

These investigations have also established links between the alleged financial malfeasance and several interdicted and suspended officials of the ministry.

The EFCC also said the investigation did not focus on individuals but on the ministry as a whole.

“It is instructive to stress that the commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

“Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary,” the statement added.

On the issue of the works of the commission against Naira abuse, dollarisation of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC said it appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far.

“Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life. These gestures amply demonstrate rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo,” Oyewale said.

He stressed that the commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira, saying old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024.

“However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

…EFCC vows crackdown on Naira abuse, reveals several celebrities are under investigation

At the moment, “the commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter,” the Commission said.

The EFCC has also committed to maintaining its unwavering stance of holding all accountable, without exceptions. It warns the public to remain vigilant against violating laws related to this crime.

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Junior Pope: NSIB commences investigation into boat accident

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The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has commenced an investigation into the devastating boat accident that claimed the life of actor, Junior Pope.

Junior Pope was found dead following an accident last week on the Anam River in Anambra State while shooting.

Among the victims were Abigail Frederick, Precious Oforum, and Joseph Anointing.

In an official statement released on Sunday, NSIB’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Bimbo Oladeji, confirmed the initiation of the investigation.

The objective of this inquiry is to uncover the circumstances surrounding the accident, pinpoint any contributing factors, and propose preventative measures to avert similar tragedies in the future.

The accident occurred when a speedboat, transporting twelve film crew members and a boat operator, tragically collided with a canoe on the Anam River.

In the statement, NSIB Director General, Captain Alex Badeh, said an investigation team has been dispatched to the accident site, and an inquiry has begun.

He said, “The investigation scope includes, but is not limited to, examination of the wreckage from both vessels involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members and eyewitnesses, review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat, analysis of weather and environmental conditions at the time of the accident, and assessment of compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations for inland waterway transportation.”

The NSIB, according to its DG, will collaborate with the Anambra State Police Command’s Marine Police section, maritime authorities, and industry experts to investigate the recent boat accident on the Anam River.

The investigation will produce both preliminary and final reports, aiming to provide recommendations for preventing similar accidents in the future.

The DG said, “The NSIB extends its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this heartbreaking accident.”

“We share in your grief and are fully committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this tragedy and prevent similar occurrences in the future,” he said.

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