The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Rabiu Kwankwaso has faulted the new naira swap deadline, claiming it only affects the masses and not the political elites who he said have banks.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on Sunday extended the deadline for the swapping of the newly-designed naira notes, bowing to pressure from many quarters.
But Kwankwaso said the February 10th deadline given by the apex bank is not enough, arguing that if the move was meant to curb vote-buying as many believe, the aim would be defeated since major politicians have access to the banking system.
“I can tell you, from our investigation, what the government is saying has to do with people who would want to take too much money; lead us in politics. They don’t know that many of our colleagues, those who are contesting, especially presidential candidates, and by extension, all those in their parties, are owners of the banks,” he said Thursday when he featured on Channels Television’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily.
“Not only that, people close to them are having banks everywhere. So, they would lose nothing. And they have governors -PDP has governors, APC has governors – and I am sure by now they would have collected so much money from the banks in their states.”
According to him, the timeframe for the swapping of the new currency is short, arguing that in many parts of the country, especially in the northern region, there are no banks.
“Up till now, there are many states, especially in northern Nigeria, where local governments have no single bank,” the former Kano governor said.
“And in some areas, even the local government headquarters is well over 100km away and it becomes extremely difficult for them to take their money.
“We are not talking about big businessmen. We are talking about petty traders with a capital of N5,000 and even less. Now, if you give them three months, it would be very difficult for the information to reach them.”
The former minister said even a six months period for the swapping of the currency is not even enough, calling on the government to give ample time for the new currency to circulate.
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