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Out-of-court Settlement Talks on Naira Crisis Collapse

Out-of-court settlement talks on the naira crisis have collapsed, Nations report.

The Federal Government had tried to get the three states that filed a suit at the Supreme Court over the naira crisis to withdraw it.

Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai said some officials of the Federal Government reached out to the plaintiffs to table a settlement offer.

But he said the governors rejected it because the Federal Government lied.

El-Rufai said the government’s team claimed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had already destroyed all the old N1,000 and N500 notes it retrieved from circulation.

But, the governor said the old 1,000 and 500 notes were in bank vaults until February 13 and were not destroyed as claimed.

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai said the team proposed that only old N200 notes should remain legal tender and be circulated till April 10.

The governor said contrary to the report, there was no physical meeting between the Federal Government and the governors.

According to him, the Federal Government team only called the governors on phone.

The statement reads: “A few hours after the Supreme Court adjourned the ‘currency redesign’ case today, The Cable, a respected publication, published what it described as an exclusive story regarding the intentions of the Federal Government on the matter.

“Malam Nasir El-Rufai would like to clarify that The Media has been misled by its sources on this issue.

“There has been no meeting this week between the Federal Government and either the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) or the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), not to talk of one lasting till the wee hours of Wednesday, 15 February 2023.

“Rather, senior officials of the Federal Government reached some governors, including Malam Nasir El-Rufai, on phone to initiate discussions on a possible out-of-court settlement.

“The terms they proposed were to allow only the old N200 note to remain legal tender and be circulated by the CBN till 10 April 2023.

“They claimed that the CBN had already destroyed the old N500 and N1000 notes that had been deposited, but that those persons who still held the old notes could redeem them up to 10 April 2023.

“These were not considered as serious proposals, for obvious reasons.

“Circulating the old N200 notes alone would not be sufficient to relieve widespread human suffering in Kaduna State and indeed in Nigeria today.

“They knew that and that is why they falsely claimed that the CBN had already destroyed the old N500 and N1000 notes.

“This is contrary to the fact available to the governors to the effect that the old notes were in the custody of commercial bank branches throughout Nigeria until the evening of Monday, February 13, and not a single N500 or N1000 had been destroyed.”

The statement said the governors also rejected the government’s proposed new April 10 deadline.

It adds: “It is also a non-starter to insist on a new cutoff date without first assuring that sufficient new notes would have been printed and circulated.

“Information available to the governors also indicates that the Mint will need at least 12 months to print the minimum amount of N1 trillion needed to ensure a functioning trade and exchange environment in Nigeria.

“The tabling of false facts, inadequate solutions to the sufferings of our people, and the bad faith that some of the Federal Government negotiators displayed in our phone conversations and chats have now been taken further in leaking a false account and context to a respected medium.

“The plaintiff governors rejected the draft proposal as insincere, and invested our hopes in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

El-Rufai said he would address Kaduna people today “on the currency redesign mess” and the subsisting Supreme Court order.

“But the Kaduna State Government feels it is important tonight (last night) not to allow an exclusive falsehood to stand or even gain the slightest traction.

“This statement is, therefore, issued to put the records straight.


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Copyright 2023 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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