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Banks To Blame For Scarcity Of New Naira Notes —- Emefiele



Banks are to blame for the scarcity of new naira notes, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said yesterday.

He said some of them have not complied with a directive to only load the new notes on Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs).

Emefiele said instead, the banks have been handing out bundles to individuals who spray them at parties.

Cash-strapped Nigerians have been toiling to withdraw money from ATMs across the country.

Banks have stopped issuing the old notes, which will cease to be legal tender on February 10, but the new notes have been scarce.

Emefiele, who clarified that old notes can still be deposited after the extended deadline, said anti-graft agencies have been sent after erring banks and officials.

The CBN governor spoke when he appeared before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on the New Naira Redesign.

He was accompanied by Deputy Governors Aisha Ahmed (Financial System Stability), Edward Adamu (Corporate Services), Ade Shonubi (Operations), and Kingsley Obiora (Economic Policy).

The House and the CBN agreed that a time limit will not apply to the validity of old naira notes after the February 10 deadline, in line with the law.

After apologizing for his inability to honour previous invitations, Emefiele said the CBN met many times with the banks and provided them with guidance notes on the collection and processing of old notes and the distribution of new ones.

He said: “These include specific directives to the banks to load the new notes into the ATM nationwide to ensure equitable and transparent mechanisms for the distribution of the new notes to all Nigerians.

“We wanted to be sure that as the currency is issued, the banks must go through a process that is equitable and transparent, not treating some customers as a priority and some as less important.

“They were told to load this currency into the ATM. The ATM is a robot. People can only collect a maximum of N20,000 or N40,000, whether they are priority or not priority customers.

“I addressed the bankers on Sunday and I expressed to them my disappointment and in fact, the disappointment of the President and that of leaders with the way this has gone.

“Many of us have unfortunately seen the new naira, instead of being used for the purpose it’s meant, is used in parties, in celebrations.

“Some said, maybe, it’s money from the ATM and I said no, money from the ATMs is already broken. They (the ones spread at parties) are in leaflets.

“What we saw being stamped on people at parties were packages of the new naira notes, which means they (banks) had breached certain aspects of the guidance note we gave to them.”

The CBN governor said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and the Department of State Services (DSS) have been directed to go after the violators.

“When I met President Buhari, I told him that we have met with the EFCC, ICPC, and NFIU to join us in monitoring the flow of this currency to our people.

“I am delighted that even yesterday (Monday), I read that the DSS had even started, which is what we want.”

Emefiele said while the old notes will cease to be legal tender on February 10, Nigerians can still take the old notes to the bank and exchange them for new ones or deposit the old notes.

Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007 provides that the apex bank should continue to accept the old notes until they go out of circulation.

Emefiele agreed with the House on the provisions, assuring Nigerians that they will not lose their money after February 10.

The CBN governor said: “You will not lose your money even when it loses its legal tender.

“You can take it to the bank and pay it into your account. But we should please, allow this policy to succeed.

“Section 20(3) of the CBN Act says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status, we are mandated to collect those monies. I stand with the House of Representatives on this.

“What does that mean? The old notes would have lost its legal tender status, which means we have moved on.

“But, if you have the money that you have not been able to send into the bank, we will give you the opportunity to bring it back into the CBN to redeem it.

“Either you pay into your bank account or you want to exchange it, we will give it to you. It is your money. That’s the assurance I give to Nigerians.”

According to Emefiele, there have been noticeable benefits.

He said: “Inflation last month did not rise. We are expecting that it will continue to moderate and the exchange rate will be stable. We hope that with this exercise, the naira can even get stronger.

“We were able to support our security agencies. The incidence of banditry has reduced during this period. So, what we have done here is for the good of Nigerians.”

Emefiele apologized for the pain Nigerians have been subjected to in the last few days.

He said: “At these initial stages, there will be a few hitches and glitches. We apologize.

“But I want to say that the overriding interest is the economy – to make it stronger and better.

“We know in the process that some will be hurt, I will say temporarily. But it’s a pain that I will appeal to all of us to please, show some understanding.

“The overriding benefit to Nigerians is what we are interested in, which is about making our economy stronger and combatting the high incidence of insecurity.

“Yes, we saw a few failings on the part of the banks and we appealed to EFCC, ICPC, and NFIU and they are currently working with our officials nationwide to make sure that this process goes on seamlessly.

“We are happy that the exercise has achieved a success of over 75 percent in our villages, etc.

“It is on the basis of that we now have a 10 days extension for more and more of this to be collected.”

Chairman of the Committee and House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said communication was essential.

“It is only when you interface that you have an opportunity to understand the policy of the government. So, this is a welcome submission but unfortunately at a belated point.

“If you (Emefiele) had communicated this much earlier, this crisis would not have come up at all. Nigerians would go home to sleep without any fear at all.

“I thank you for coming up with this submission, especially on the position of the law, that the bank will at all times respect the position of the laws of the land.

“It’s clear and written in black and white. I want to thank you on behalf of the committee for admitting the position of the law.”

Doguwa told the House during plenary that the CBN governor agreed to consider another extension of the validity of the old notes should there be a need for it.


Tanzania Announces Outbreak Of Deadly Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), Same Virus Family As Ebola



Tanzania has announced its first outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus disease (MVD), after five fatalities and three further cases were reported at a hospital in the country’s north-west Kagera region.

Through contact tracing, approximately 161 people have been identified as at risk of infection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The government has deployed an emergency response team to the area and neighbouring countries have stepped up surveillance. No cases have yet been reported outside Kagera.

“The efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease is a clear indication of the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. “We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus and end the outbreak as soon as possible.”

Patients displaying symptoms of the disease were first detected last week in two Kagera villages, according to a health memorandum on Tuesday by the Tanzanian health minister Ummy Mwalimu.

MVD was first discovered in 1967 in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany and Belgrade, Serbia. It is from the same “virus family” as Ebola and causes a severe hemorrhagic fever, while fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88%. There have been several outbreaks since its discovery, with the worst being Angola in 2004-2005, where there were 252 cases and 227 deaths.

The virus is initially transmitted to people from fruit bats, and then from person to person through body fluids or contaminated objects. Family members and health workers are particularly vulnerable to infection.

Symptoms of the disease can range from fever, nausea and rash at the onset, to jaundice and severe weight loss as the disease progresses. It has an incubation period of up to 21 days.

There are no vaccines or treatments for the virus, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alleviating symptoms by rehydration or managing the patient’s blood and oxygen levels, can increase the chances of survival.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is also supporting efforts to contain the outbreak. Tanzania is battling the virus for the first time, just a month after Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first case.

“These emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are a sign that the health security of the continent needs to be strengthened to cope with the disease threats,” said Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, the director of Africa CDC. “We urge members of the public to continue sharing information in a timely manner with the authorities to enable a most effective response.”

Tanzania’s health ministry has called on citizens to take general precaution and follow health directives until the situation is brought under control.

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Tinubu Jets Out To France In Preparation For Inauguration As Nigeria’s 16th President



Indications that countdown to the swearing-in of 16th president of Nigeria and preparation for the ceremony is in full gear, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has left Nigeria for France to start engaging needed hands and foreign investors that would make tasks ahead easier for him as he aims to hit the ground running on good notes immediately after May 29.

It was gathered that Tinubu’s trip to France would enable him to share quality time with his team in studying how his government would be able to address issues of insecurity, revamp the economy, engage younger people, and also restore unity in the country.

The Guild learnt that the president-elect has lists of engagements that would preoccupy his short stay in Paris while on other hand, his also expected to be fully involved in preparation for his inauguration back home in Nigeria.

Whereas, findings by The Guild indicated that Lagos State former governor’s trip to France may not yet be disclosed to public and large number of his associates who may have been seeking to see Tinubu for political gains after governorship election.

Speaking to a female aide that accompanied Tinubu on the trip, she told The Guild that campaign was over and that the president-elect needed quality time with his team to study Nigeria’s challenges and know how they could be tackled decisively.

They indicated that the task ahead of Tinubu is huge and needed special attention in dealing with the problems on ground and that the concentration cannot be achieved if the president-elect remains in Nigeria till inauguration day.

Other sources on Wednesday explained that Tinubu’s team has lists of engagements for the president-elect to go through on daily bases and throughout the period of time he would be staying in France, including meeting with experts and both local and foreign investors.

As for the 2023 electoral crisis, another source stated that Tinubu had concluded plans to meet political leaders and their supporters, especially those that were not satisfied with the 2023 presidential poll outcome, to address all issues on the ground and to be able to forge ahead and bring everyone irrespective of their tribe and faith together.

While the President-elect was considering plans to unite all aggrieved candidates, they individually approached the Presidential tribunal to demand that the presidential election be either canceled or order a rerun between him and the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.

The candidates, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, also suggested to the tribunal that they should be declared winner of the February 25 poll, arguing that the president-elect as not the choice of the people.

However, Tinubu has appealed to Atiku, Obi, and other aggrieved candidates to accept the outcomes of the poll and join him to build a Nigeria that will be prosperous for everyone irrespective o their status in the country.

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BREAKING: Labour Party’s Alex Otti Wins Gubernatorial Election In Abia State



Labour Party Candidate, Alex Otti has won Gubernatorial Election in Abia State.

It was gathered that Alex Otti has claimed that Labour Party won by landslide but PDP is trying to manipulate Abia Governorship election results.

The governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Abia state, Alex Otti, has raised an alarm alleging manipulations of original polling booth results by the ruling People’s Democratic Party during the collation of results at some local government councils across Abia state.

Speaking to Channels Television at his country home in Isiala Ngwa Local Government Area of the state, he called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, to bring the leadership of the electoral body in Abia state to order so they do not subvert the will of the people.

“Virtually all the results that have been uploaded and released, Labour Party won by a landslide.,” Otti insisted.

“Unfortunately, the PDP government has refused to allow some of the results to stand, and they are doing this with the active connivance of some compromised INEC staff and security agencies.”

“The local governments involved are Obingwa where the outgoing governor comes from, Osisioma, Aba North and Aba South where we won overwhelmingly. Obingwa is a very interesting case because, in the majority of the wards in active connivance with INEC, the BVAS was not used.”

Otti further alleged the PDP’s scheme was to flood the collation centre with counterfeit results.

“So they are making efforts to push fake results to the collation centre in Obingwa local government.”

He also called on the Inspector General of Police to intervene as quickly as possible to prevent any breakdown of law and order in the state if the will of the people is subverted.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government and particularly the INEC Chairman to ensure that the right thing is done in Abia State. INEC had indicated clearly that the BVAS will be used for voting in this election and BVAS was used,” he said.

“I expect that any result that is not coming out from BVAS accreditation will not be accepted. So, I like the INEC Chairman to prevail on the REC and all other officials of INEC to give peace a chance and do the right thing.”

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