Civil society groups have started mobilising their members in preparation for a mass protest, should the Central Bank of Nigeria insist on implementing the planned currency review.
Leaders of some of the groups, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH, said they had started meeting to examine the issue and to devise the best approach to express the displeasure of Nigerians on the review within the ambit of the law.
According to the National Coordinator, Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People, Amitolu Shittu, leaders of the civil society groups will finalise plans on the protest during the events that would mark the third anniversary of the death of late human right lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
He said, “We have already discussed the issue in our meeting on Thursday, and we are hopefully going to finalise on our action plan the third anniversary of the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, on September 5. We will ensure that we stop this satanic plan by government to make us suffer.
“The fact that they want to spend N40bn on the new notes that we don’t need shows that they don’t care about us. And we will resist every attempt to destroy our economy. By planning to print N5000 note, they are only trying to make it easier for those who steal our money.”
Similarly, the Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Debo Adeniran, said the group was consulting on the issue and would address a press conference in the next few days.
“For now, we are still consulting on the issue. There is still the argument as to whether the issue deserves that much effort in the midst of other issues that we want to hold the government accountable for. We are looking at all issues associated with the currency review. Within next week, an aggregate of civil society groups in the South will address a press conference on the issue,” he said.
Also the President of the Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Okei Joe-Odumakin, said civil society groups were prepared to express the disapproval of Nigerians on the plan.
“We have started mobilising our people and we are telling Nigerians to be ready in case they are called upon to come out on the streets. The fact is that we as civil society groups will do our part within the ambit of the law, but they might still go ahead, because we have leaders who do not listen. But at the end of the day, it will be recorded that Nigerians opposed it,” she said.
The National Assembly and the CBN last Thursday disagreed on the mandate of the latter in currency restructuring project.
While the CBN told the Senate that it had the power to carry out a comprehensive review of the country’s currency, the Senate however, said the apex bank’s independence was limited.
It therefore, asked the CBN to suspend its plan to redesign the Naira and to introduce the N5000 note, which has been criticised by many Nigerians.