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Naira redesign: Nigerians groan over failed online transactions



…Fate hangs as Supreme Court adjourns till March 3

…Filling stations, Fast Food joints reject online transfer

…El-Rufai deploys free transport, medical services for Kaduna residents

Olaseinde Gbenga & Bankole Taiwo

Repeated failure of online transactions   in line with the cashless policy  of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has forced filling stations,fast food vendors and others to demand for cash to settle payment. As the situation continue to worsen, the Supreme Court has again adjourned the case instituted by  State Governments against the Federal Government challenging the implementation of the Naira redesign.

The apex court on Wednesday adjourned the case to March 3, for judgement.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court, after a suit filed by the States, held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the February 10 deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 22

Meanwhile, the rejection is a vindication of  the Nigerian Economic Summit Group ( NESG) position that Nigerian banks are not prepared for the fire brigade implementation of  cashless policy by the CBN.

In Oyo, Ogun and Ondo, most filling stations including members of Major Oil Marketing Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) complained of failed online transactions which made them to insist on use of new Naira notes for payment.

For instance, a dealer complained that money paid for the purchase of 10,000 truck of PMS cannot be discharge at the filling station because online transactions  for the purchase failed after 24 hours of initiating it.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a national broadcast last Thursday, directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.

There has been a flurry of reactions and stark criticisms against the President’s directive including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Umar Ganduje (Kano); Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and many stalwarts of the ruling APC have openly censured and faulted the President’s directive, arguing he acted in contempt and disregard of the rule of law against the order of the apex court which ruled for a status quo pending the determination of the suit before it.

Leading Senior Advocates of Nigeria including Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome have equally faulted the President’s move, saying he cannot overrule the apex court of the land.

Recall, three State Governors – Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi, following the President’s action, have further filed another suit against Malami, and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele over contempt of court and their alleged failure to comply with the Supreme Court order on the old Naira notes.

There has been fear over possibility of disruptions against the polls by the Naira notes crisis, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that the election will go as planned.

….El-Rufai deploys free transport, medical services for Kaduna residents

Meanwhile, the Kaduna government under Governor Nasiru El-Rufai has said medical and transport services will be introduced to alleviate the impact of the Naira note scarcity on residents in his State.

This was after a meeting held at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House with Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna, the State Security Council, and other stakeholders in attendance to deliberate on the measures to ensure violence-free elections and the impact of the Naira scarcity on residents.

The meeting discussed the cash crunch, and its severe impact on citizen welfare, trade and economic activities. It noted reports that managing the situation has necessitated the diversion of some security personnel from vital field operations to guarding key financial assets.

The council commended the security agencies for strengthening the state government’s efforts to ensure that citizens remain calm, peaceful and of lawful conduct amidst the challenges.

“The security council took recommendations on ways of mitigating the impact of the cash shortage on citizens. These measures are designed to provide a measure of immediate relief to the problems caused by the lack of cash by citizens to pay for services like transportation and health care, and necessities like food.

“The council, therefore, adopted these three emergency palliative measures to last for a week, starting from Wednesday.

“The Kaduna state government will provide free transport services along designated routes in Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria, the three biggest cities in the state. This will be done in partnership with the transport unions, who will provide the buses and tricycles.

“The Kaduna state public health system will offer free routine care in government hospitals for common illnesses like malaria and typhoid. This is in addition to the free care for pregnant women and children younger than five years that has been government policy since 2015.

“Prescriptions will be given, and the health facility visited will administer drugs, if available. To access this service, citizens will be required to present their National Identity Number or the Kaduna State Residency Card, issued by the Kaduna State Residents Identity Management Agency (KADRIMA).

“Amid the expectation of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding a suit filed by Kaduna and other states challenging the naira redesign policy, the Kaduna state government went public with its concerns about the suffering associated with the naira scarcity on 1st February. Since then, it has continued to seek lawful and peaceful means of resolving the matter. While awaiting a resolution, it is important to seek ways of relieving human suffering,” the statement reads.

“The measures above represent a limited intervention for a severe problem. But every act of relief for citizens is welcome in a crisis, even if the crisis was needlessly unleashed by those who ought to know better,” it added.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari’s last Thursday broadcast declaring the old N500 and N1,000 notes has ceased to be legal tender, had further erupted anger, instigating protests across States in the Country with more destruction of property.

The President last week, amidst the scarcity of the new notes, had said he has given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be legal tender.

He added that in line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points.

Recall that a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court had Wednesday February 08, barely two days to the February 10 deadline set by the Federal Government, in a unanimous ruling granted an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing the CBN’s February 10 deadline for the swapping of the old Naira notes with the new ones.

The judgement followed the motion ex-parte on behalf of three northern states – Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, which on February 3rd filed a suit seeking to halt the implementation of the CBN’s policy.

In a later development, more States filed to join Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara States in suit, while it was gathered others may still join in interest.

At resumption of sitting on Wednesday, February 15 the Apex Court in Abuja had adjourned the hearing to Wednesday, 22nd February 2023.

Meanwhile, pending hearing, according to the Court, the old order to suspend the ban of the now older N200, N500 and N1,000 Naira notes subsist. The President’s broadcast was contrary to the Court’s order, attracting condemnation.

Meanwhile, since February 10, Banks had continued to refuse collecting old notes of N1,000, N500 and N200 despite the Supreme Court injunction that ruled that the old notes should still be legal tender pending the determination of the suit challenging the introduction of the newly redesigned Naira.

The Banks were further thrown into more confusion last weekend over conflicting directives from the CBN which initially told Deposit Money Banks on Friday to commence again the collection of old notes of N500 and N1,000 for deposit, but later debunked, a development that saw Banks thrown into confusion, as Banks which promptly opened and started collection of the old notes, swiftly stopped the collections after a follow up directive denying issuing such directives for collection.

But following the crisis that trailed his broadcast, President Buhari in a video on Sunday appealed to Nigerians for more patience on the policy.

Buhari who said he was fully aware of the hardship argued that the policy is meant to improve Nigeria’s economy.

“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel,” Buhari said in a video recording from Ethiopia where he attended the just-concluded African Union summit.

Speaking on Sunday, the President said in the video, “I want to once again assure you that I am fully aware of the current hardship you are facing as a result of some policies of the government which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country.

“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.”

As banks continue to suffer attacks,  Chief Executive Officers of banks had also met seeking solutions to the situation which had led to attacks on their facilities and the death of no fewer than 13 persons across the Country.

Bankers Committee were reported to have met to discuss possible extension of the collection of old notes this week to save facilities of their branches across the Country from attacks leading to destruction of their properties.

Last Friday, following Buhari’s national broadcast which announced the termination of N500 and N1000 as legal tender, widespread protests across the Country had recorded attacks on banks.

In Epe area of Lagos State, banks said to have been attacked on Friday include branches of Zenith, Access and Keystone banks.

In Rivers, last week, Banks reported to have been attacked on Friday include First Bank in Churchill and Keystone Bank along Aggrey Road both in the old Port Harcourt Township area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital.

The First City Monument Bank at Rumuokoro in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State was destroyed by customers on Thursday.

Recall that racing for die minute way out, the Progressive governors under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday had met with the National Chairman of the Party,  Senator Abdullahi Adamu, demanding that the Federal Government honour the order of the Supreme Court on the pending suit which has restrained it from implementing its deadline on the status of the old Naira notes as legal tender.

The stakeholders had urged the Central Bank Governor (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to respect the Supreme Court order of interim injunction,  which has restrained the Federal Government, the CBN, and Commercial Banks from implementing the deadline on the swap of the old Naira notes.

Recall that there has been discrepancy between President Muhammadu Buhari and some aggrieved governors over the policy which has left the citizens groaning not only in untold hardship, but in confusion.

…Nigerians groan over challenges of failed online transactions, despise cashles policy 

The challenge of naira scarcity created by the cashless policy of the federal government has no doubt forced many Nigerians to embrace other modes of payment such as the use of PoS, ATMs and online banking among others.

Many people have, however, complained of the inefficiency of these alternative channels such that they are more often than not disappointed whenever they choose to use them to sort out their daily needs.

Mrs Ruth Okunola who is into sale of bread said that aside the fact that cashless policy of the Federal Government has really affected her business such that her sales had dropped significantly, the uncooperative internet banking has also not helped matters.

She said, “Sometimes, my customers will try to make payment with their phones but the transaction won’t be going. At times you may not get this money until the following day(s). As, I speak, I still have about four of my customers who said they had transferred their money to me since morning and eight hours after I have received no dime. This is why the Federal Government should either suspend this policy or make the new Naira notes available, it is really hurting business.”

Mrs Temilola who operates a daily needs shop also lamented how failed online payment had been hampering her business.

She said, “I would not have opposed this cashless policy so strongly if the online transaction had gone seamlessly but it is not. I am still waiting for the two payments my customers did yesterday. This policy is really killing business owners, it should be scrapped.”

Mr Tunde Abdul, a teacher said he waited for one hour yesterday at cold room where he had gone to buy fish because they wanted to confirm the payment he made.

He said, “After buying the N3,000 fish, I made payment using my banking app. While I was debited after some hitches, the money didn’t get to the person selling the fish and my family wanted to cook soup, so I had to wait for about an hour before I was told to go even though the money was still being awaited.

“My saving grace was one of the persons working there who happened to be my former student. I told her what happened and she pleaded that she will stand in for me. She later called me the following morning to say that the money just came in. This CBN policy is really making life difficult for the people.”

Kehinde Bantale said that the failure of his online payment nearly made him and the driver who took him from Abeokuta to Ijebu Ode fight on Monday.

Kehinde said, “I boarded a bus under NNPC bridge in the evening of Monday. The driver said he would collect N1,000 from Abeokuta to Ijebu Ode and I told him no problem, but that I would however make transfer from my bank as I was only left with N200.

“The driver said no problem, but that he must receive the money before we get to Ijebu Ode. Unfortunately, the transfer did not go, the App just kept rolling and rolling. On getting to Ijebu Ode around 8pm, the driver was already getting impatient. On getting down from the vehicle, the driver started shouting that it is either I pay his money or get my bags seized.

“Luckily for me, my neighbour who rides commercial motorcycle popularly called Okada met us while we were in a shouting match, and he was the one who loaned me the N1,000 that I gave to the driver. I was really embarrassed, and the more reason I had said this cashless policy is a punitive measure, it should be thrown away.”


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35,496 suspects arrested, 1,907 rescued from kidnappers in one year — IGP



The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Ph.D., NPM, says the Nigeria Police Force in the past one year has arrested  35,496 suspects and rescued 1,907 people from kidnappers.

He disclosed this on Thursday during the monthly Conference with Senior Police Officers, which coincided with a significant milestone in the current administration, its 365 days in office.

The IGP, while addressing senior officers and members of the press, highlighted the progress made and the challenges faced over the past year since he assumed office as the 22nd Indigenous Inspector-General of Police taking time to reflect, evaluate, and plan for the future.

The IGP noted that during the past twelve months, the Force has faced considerable challenges, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery.

In a statement made available by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, he said, “Despite these threats, the Nigeria Police Force has remained resilient and dedicated to its mandate.” The IGP commended officers for their hard work and dedication, emphasising the positive results achieved through capacity building, service improvements, and strengthened relationships with sister services and the public.

Reflecting on the year’s accomplishments, the IGP acknowledged the vital achievements of his administration in one year including “the presentation of a total of N9.85 billion to families of deceased officers under the Group Life Assurance Scheme and the IGP Family Welfare Scheme, the declaration of April 7 as National Police Day by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the promotion of inaugural Police Commendation and Awards Ceremony, the promotion of 33,867 officers based on merit, competence, and available vacancies.”

“Also is the advancement of infrastructural development which will culminate in the commissioning of some projects such as the Nigeria Police Resource Centre, the International Conference Centre, the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC), the Force Intelligence Building, the Force Public Relations School, the Police Intelligence School located in Share, Kwara State, Evidence/Exhibits Storage facilities, and newly acquired operational assets including vehicles, APCs, Drones, Gun trucks etc.

“In the past one year, the Nigeria Police Force has arrested 35,496 suspects for their participation in various crimes, rescued 1,907 kidnapped victims, and recovered 2,750 firearms, 22,569 ammunition, and 1,540 vehicles nationwide, while the Legal/Prosecutions Section has successfully prosecuted 29,052 criminal cases, securing 16,200 convictions.”

The conference also focused on the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States, with the IGP outlining security plans to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring smooth elections.

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OML58: NNPC Ltd, TotalEnergies announce $550m investment deal on Ubeta project



By Esther Agbo and Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited signed an agreement with TotalEnergies for the final investment decision (FID) on the Ubeta Field Development Project.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday in Abuja.

This project is expected to have a significant impact on Nigeria’s energy sector and contribute to the country’s efforts to develop its oil and gas resources.

Speaking at the event, Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of NNPC, said on stream, the Ubeta project will produce about 350 million standard cubic feet (MMScf) per day of gas and 10,000 barrels per day of associated liquids.

This, Kyari said, is an opportunity to tap into the vast gas reserves and contribute towards securing gas supply to Nigeria’s liquified natural gas (LNG).

Kyari said, “I’m very convinced that many more projects will come alongside this as we progress.”

“And maybe not the right moment to make those announcements, but I know that a number of projects have been enabled by the executive order of Mr. President.

“No doubt, this project will create opportunities, jobs, and everything that you can imagine, including making our energy investment much more productive.

“I know for sure that the engagements with our other partners will ensure delivery of gas sufficient to keep our train 1 to 7 active and at full capacity, and also realise our ambitions for train 7.”

While appreciating the support from stakeholders, Kyari highlighted the continuous support of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in facilitating a conducive operational environment, which he said is a major driver of the deal.

He also said the presidential executive order was instrumental to achieving the milestone and the impact of the policy is being seen.

Also speaking at the event the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, delivered a keynote address at the Final Investment Decision (FID) Ceremony for the OML58 Ubeta Field Development Project.

The Ubeta Project is projected to produce 350 million standard cubic feet per day (MMScf/d) of gas at its peak. This initiative is a testament to TotalEnergies’ commitment to Nigeria and plays a crucial role in ensuring a stable gas supply for Nigeria LNG.

Minister Ekpo emphasised the project’s alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s strategic objectives and the Presidential Executive Orders of March 2024. These directives aim to transform Nigeria into a major gas hub, providing cleaner energy, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth.

The Decade of Gas Initiative has laid the groundwork for ambitious projects like Ubeta, focusing on leveraging Nigeria’s abundant gas resources to drive industrialisation, reduce environmental impact, and offer affordable energy to millions of Nigerians.

The Ubeta Field Development Project is a prime example of investments that bring technological advancements, foster local content, and generate sustainable economic benefits.

Minister Ekpo commended TotalEnergies for their continued partnership and investment in Nigeria, acknowledging their role in boosting gas production capabilities.

He said, “I want to take this opportunity to commend TotalEnergies for their continued partnership and investment in Nigeria. Your efforts not only boost our gas production capabilities but also contribute to our shared goals of energy security and economic prosperity.

“We value your commitment to employing innovative technologies and practices that ensure the efficiency and safety of your operations.”

He also highlighted the effectiveness of Nigeria’s policies in creating a conducive environment for investment in the gas sector, attributing the project’s fruition to supportive government policies and regulatory frameworks.

Looking ahead, Minister Ekpo urged for continued collaboration to harness Nigeria’s vast gas potential.

He stressed that the success of the Ubeta Project would be measured not only by gas production volumes but also by its positive impact on the economy, communities, and environment.

In conclusion, Minister Ekpo congratulated all contributors to the project, praising their dedication and hard work.

He called for ongoing cooperation to ensure the successful implementation and operation of the Ubeta Field Development Project, setting a benchmark for future projects in Nigeria’s gas sector.

The event concluded with a call for continued efforts to leverage Nigeria’s gas resources for the nation’s economic and environmental benefit.

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Federal High Court affirms Bayero’s deposition as Emir of Kano



…Upholds validity of Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024

The ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Kano presided over by Justice A.M. Liman today has brought to an end, the argument on the deposition of former Emir Aminu Ado Bayero as the court ruled that the new Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains valid.

According to the ruling, all five Emirates of Gaya, Rano, Karaye, Kano and Bichi remained abolished.

While delivering the ruling, Justice A.M. Liman held that the Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains the law and its validity is intact but actions taken after assenting the law when an order from the court was issued are voided.

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has assented to the new law and reinstated the 14th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi as the 16th Emir of one united Kan at the same time (23rd May, 2024 by 5.10pm).

“Law is still the law, but actions carried out in the execution of the law are set aside.”

Justice Liman also granted a stay of proceeding and transferred the case to his learned brother of court three, Justice Amobeda. This bars all parties from taking any step to enforce the ruling till after determination of the appeal.

By this decision of the Federal High Court, the five former Emirs including that of Kano with 8 Local Government areas remained deposed and the defunct Emirates remained abolished.

It is therefore ascertained that the 16th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II remains on throne and Aminu Ado Bayero remains deposed while the legal tussle continues.

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