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Senate in rowdy session over Naira redesign

There was a rowdy session on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday over the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign…

There was a rowdy session on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday over the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign higher denominations of naira notes.

On October 26, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the redesign of the N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, while announcing the issuance of the new naira notes, said bank customers should start paying their current notes to enable them to withdraw the new bank notes once circulation begins on December 15, 2022.

It had set January 31, 2023 as deadline for the acceptance of the current naira notes.

During a debate on a motion sponsored Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna), some lawmakers, including Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, had called for the extension of the deadline to April 30, 2023, saying the deadline was too short.

Kalu asked the senate to invite the CBN governor to throw more light on the policy while he should be persuaded to extend the deadline.

But Senator Gabriel Suswan (PDP, Benue) disagreed with Kalu and others, saying the CBN Governor does not honour Senate invitations.

He urged his colleagues to ignore the CBN policy and let the country damn the consequences.

Senator Bassey Akpan stressed the need to support the CBN Governor. He said there should be no discussion on the matter.

Suswan and Akpan’s submissions did not sit well with the lawmakers seeking the extension of the deadline, causing the Red Chamber to degenerate into a rowdy.

It took the persistent appeals by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over the plenary, to restore normalcy.

The Senate, after the debate, resolved to provide legislative support for the CBN on the policy.

The Red Chamber also called for aggressive enlightenment on the part of the CBN especially in the rural areas to ensure that all Nigerians are made aware of the new policy.

It insisted that such mass awareness creation would help Nigerians in the rural areas to comply with the policy so as not to lose their hard earned income.

It said such a measure of would also ensure the security of the local population who might be waylaid and dispossessed of their cash by criminal elements like bandits and insurgents.

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