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Cash crunch: El-Rufai accuses FG of falsehood, says no meeting held this week between FG and governors

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Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has debunked a story published by an online newspaper, The Cable which suggested that the presidency held a meeting with some governors on how to resolve the crisis generated by the current cash crunch in the country.

According to a statement released on the verified Facebook wall of the governor and signed by Muyiwa Adekeye, his special Adviser on media and communication, El-Rufai said officials of the federal government reached out to him and some governors on telephone on a possible out of court settlement.

He said the federal government’s proposals were “insincere” and in “bad faith”, adding that they are not “sufficient to relieve widespread human suffering in Kaduna State, and indeed in Nigeria today.”

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 Cable has been misled by its sources on this issue. There has been no meeting this week between the FG and either the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) or the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), not to talk of one lasting till the wee hours of today, Wednesday, 15 February 2023.

Rather, senior officials of the FG 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.

It is also a non-starter to insist on a new cut off 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 FG 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.

Malam Nasir El-Rufai will be addressing the people of Kaduna State on this currency redesign mess, the consequences of the extension of the injunction of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and related matters tomorrow. But the Kaduna State Government feels it is important tonight not to allow an exclusive falsehood to stand, or even gain the slightest traction. This statement is therefore issued to put the records straight.

Signed

Muyiwa Adekeye
Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication)
15th February 2023

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