If you have not heard, a prominent politician, Dr. Buba Galadima has already raised the alarm that one of the North-west governors has starched away in his home the sum of N22 billion for election, whereas their subjects are wallowing in poverty. If Buba, an ordinary Nigerians could get this level of intelligence, then President Buhari who has his secrete service, DSS sitting among the thieves called governors knows much more
Emmanuel Ukudolo l Friday, February 17, 2023
IKEJA, Lagos – No doubt, Nigerians are currently going through very tough times, a development fully acknowledged by President Muhammadu Buhari in his February 16 broadcast to Nigerians, following redesign of the Naira and corresponding need to swap the old notes with the new ones.
But what Nigerians are going through can be likened to the pretty lady, whose looks can be breathtaking in the street with the right curves, back and front pointers, very erect and in the right places.
Nobody cared about the number of times the pretty damsel visited the beautician, the pains she went through as the attendants at her beauty shop deploy wood therapy massage tools one after the other, from the Onuemp Wooden waist thigh massager and muscle roller stick to Maderoterapia Colombiana kit for lymphatic drainage, the anti cellulite and other body contouring/ shaping sticks for deep tissue.
But as she wrights in pains, she is consoled by the sweet and soft laden voice of the attendants repeating the fixed expressions, one after the other, “there is beauty after pain and no pain, no beauty”.
She goes through this routine for weeks and eventually the desirable features that keeps all heads turning in the streets emerges.
This rapid transformation of a once shapeless lady into a breathtaking Cinderella can be equated with the present hardship Nigerians are going though as a result of the Naira design and now Naira swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria – ‘There is beauty after pain’.
For years, terrorists wrecked havoc, killing, maiming Nigerians and destroying properties in their billions. By June 2021, the United Nations said 350, 000 Nigerians have been killed by the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, while millions have been displaced with their live stocks.
Boko Haram, a global terrorist organization deploys modern lethal weapons in the attack of both civilians and military targets, with their operations receiving steady supply of funds, often difficult to trace, Nigeria being a cash-based economy.
In developed economies admired by most Nigerians, the use of cash in excess of certain limits is prohibited but through electronic transfer.
Through this method, it becomes very easy to trace movement of funds, hence the usual refrain, “Follow the money”.
In Nigeria, Section 2 (1) ‘a’ and ‘b’ of the Money Laundering Act 2022 warns that no person or body corporate shall, accept in a transaction through a financial institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding— (a) N5,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual ; or (b) N10,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of a body corporate.
Punishment for contravention if convicted is imprisonment for a minimum term of 4 years or a sum not less than 5 times the value of the proceeds for individual and five times the value of the proceeds of crime for corporate organizations.
The Money Laundering Act along with the Naira Swap policy of the CBN is expected to put movement of funds and all financial transactions within the control of the CBN, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and by extension the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU an arm of the EFCC and in the process putting widespread corruption in the country under control.
The appeal is for Nigerians to endure the pain as it is sure to birth a better Nigeria devoid of corruption and reduce influence of money politics which is detrimental to the evolution of the Nigeria we all desire
On the Naira Swap, Buhari said in his broadcast that the impact of the policy is already being felt.
As he puts it, given the prevailing security situation across the country, which keeps improving, it also becomes compelling for government to deepen its continuing support for security agencies to successfully combat banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria
“Notwithstanding the initial setbacks experienced, the evaluation and feedback mechanism set up has revealed that gains have emerged from the policy initiative”, he said, just as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the Naira redesign has reduced incidents of kidnapping and demand for ransom.
Besides, Buhari made it very clear that the policy will also reduce money politics, a situation in which money is given prominence over and above character, competence and integrity, a situation that played out very well during the primaries of the two major political parties, the All Progressive Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The result is that the best candidates failed to emerge except those who are wealthy enough to throw their wealth around and induce opportunistic and narrow-minded delegates.
In his article, “money in politics: the good, the bad, and what could become ugly, Raul Cordenillo, Ex Head of Communications and Knowledge Management, International IDEA wrote, “abuse of money in politics can undermine the running of a democratic system. “Through corruption, money can be used to influence democracy actors and institutions to favour certain groups and their interests.
“Unbridled use of funds by candidates and political parties can make the playing field for elections uneven. Illicit funds by organized crime can lead to inefficient or disrupted public services”, stressing that it is important that in a democracy the use of money is transparent, monitored and regulated.
It is on this basis that President Muhammadu Buhari ought to be commended for laying a solid foundation for the emergence of a new Nigeria devoid of widespread insecurity and corruption.
Nigerians however need to interrogate the rational for the governors, Mallam Nasir e-Rufai of Kaduna State, Yahaya Bellow of Kogi State, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, Bello Matawale of Zamfara, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Prince Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Nyesom Wike of River State and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila who are working against this policy.
They did not speak out when Nigerian students sat at home for eight months when lecturers were on strike. In fact it was during this period that the Speaker of the House of Representative, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila travelled out to Harvard to pursue a university degree. Besides, fuel scarcity has in the past six months made life very difficult for Nigerians but they never spoke up and act with the same energy to make fuel available, repair the nations refineries or build new ones as long as they were not affected. But they have suddenly realized the need to speak on Naira swap policy, a policy that is on the Federal Exclusive List because it has hit them below the belt.
They are not speaking for you, the suffering masses – they are speaking for themselves and their families. They are looking for ways to deploy the billions they have stolen and starched away in their private homes for the purchase of votes to perpetuate themselves in power.
If you have not heard, a prominent politician, Dr. Buba Galadima has already raised the alarm that one of the North-west governors has starched away in his home the sum of N22 billion for election, whereas their subjects are wallowing in poverty. If Buba, an ordinary Nigerians could get this level of intelligence, then President Buhari who has his secrete service, DSS sitting among the thieves called governors knows much more.
These are the characters going against the Naira swap policy, organizing riots all over the place because they see it as a pill too bitter to swallow. Mind you, they comply with similar regulations in destinations they visit for holidays and medical tourism.
The appeal is for Nigerians to endure the pain as it is sure to birth a better Nigeria devoid of corruption and reduce influence of money politics which is detrimental to the evolution of the Nigeria we all desire.