By Yusuf Damina
As Nigerians pass through the artificially inflicted pains, hardship and business collapse due to Naira re-design policy of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), one cannot be adjudged to be wrong by calling for adequate compensation to the citizens.
The condemnable, half-baked policy is no longer news that it has succeeded in crashing down many enterprises in the country among which are Point of Sales (POS) operators who were forced to fold up due to the scarcity of the Naira after the CBN had succeeded in mopping up the re-designed N200, N500 and N1000 denominations from circulation.
The policy summersault being exhibited by FG through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over Naira scarcity even after the Supreme Court had ruled that the old notes should remain in circulation until after December 31st, 2023 is indeed worrisome.
It is disheartening that Nigerians have suffered from hearing conflicting directives emanating from the CBN on whether the old Naira notes should be accepted as legal tender as directed by the Supreme Court or not. This confusion cannot be undetached with the fact that the CBN care less in the area of public enlightenment on whether or not, it has complied with the order of the Court.
It will serve Nigerians good, if President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN will expedite action on making cash available to save homes and businesses from eminent collapse.
The agony and trauma inflicted by the entire management of the policy are unspeakable.
The cashless policy should also be simplified to accommodate millions of rural dwellers, the informal sector players, the millions of unbanked Nigerians and several millions that are not literate.
It is sad that, as Nigerians who are entitled to fair consideration in the implementation process, the FG pay less attention to how bad the policy will impact on the citizens.
Nigeria with about 200 million population size, the CBN should consider the fact that not even half of the population may not have bank accounts through which the envisaged cashless policy can flourish.
Besides, the policy came at a time the country is still lagging behind in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT). This can be attested to by many Nigerians who suffered in making efforts to comply with the half-baked cashless policy of the FG while making transfers.
The CBN cannot dispute the fact that many Nigerians, operating micro-enterprises and small businesses contributing immensely to employment, poverty reduction and social stability suffered serious setbacks during the policy.
It is bad enough that their lives and livelihoods have been disrupted and disoriented.
The CBN needs to totally comply with the Supreme Court directive by making both the Old and the new re-designed Naira notes available to the citizens in the interest of fairness, justice and social inclusion.
The federal government of Nigeria should also, in the interest of fairness and justice, consider the payment of compensation to all adult Nigerians for subjecting them to untold hardship. The half-baked policy came with a lot of insinuations that it was meant to curb vote-buying or inflation.
Regarding claim of curbing vote-buying, we are all witnesses that the elections have come and gone with reports of allegations of vote-buying while the prices of goods and services have been on the increase.
May God bless Nigeria.
Yusuf Bitrus Damina, is a student of HND II Mass communication Abubakar Tatari Ali polytechnic Bauchi.
You can reach me at @firstname.lastname@example.org. or Tell 07034912293.