Nigeria’s Federal Government has berated opposition political parties for going to obtain court order to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from extending or interfering with the naira swap deadline date, while expressing surprise over the move.
Speaking at the 23rd edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023), which featured the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, accused the parties of politicising the situation, stressing that they were not mindful of the plight of Nigerians due to the cash crunch.
Recall that on Monday, 14 political parties threatened to boycott the February 25 election should the Central Bank of Nigeria extend the February 10 deadline for the currency swap which it had earlier announced.
Similarly, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory restrained the President, the CBN, its Governor Godwin Emefiele and 27 commercial banks from suspending, stopping, extending or interfering with the currency swap terminal date.
The order was handed down on Monday by Justice E. Enenche following an application by four political parties.
Reacting to the development, Mohammed said the action by the political parties was unscrupulous.
“Recall that after his (Buhari’) meeting with the Progressives Governors’ Forum on Friday, President Buhari urged the citizens to give him a seven-day window to resolve the currency crunch that has emanated from the implementation of the naira redesign policy,” he said.
“Unfortunately, on Monday, some opposition political parties ran to court to obtain an injunction restraining Mr President and the CBN from extending the February 10 deadline for Nigerians to exchange their old notes for new ones.”
Mohammed said the court action came after a number of opposition parties threatened to boycott the 2023 general election if the deadline was extended.
He added, “These curious actions by the parties concerned are a clear evidence that the opposition has turned this whole issue into a political game, preferring to make Nigerians suffer more on the altar of an unconscionable political gamesmanship.
“Or how else can one explain the fact that these unscrupulous opposition parties do not want any action that could reduce the pains being experienced by Nigerians?
“How else can one explain the fact that they have decided to legally hamstring Mr President, in particular, from providing any relief for Nigerians suffering from the cash crunch?”
He argued that it was bad politics when one puts the interest of desperate political parties over and above that of Nigerians.
He, however, stated that despite the antics of the opposition, the government was willing and able to take decisive steps to bring succour to Nigerians in the shortest possible time.
Mohammed said the Federal Government was mindful of the inconveniences currently being endured by the citizens as a result of fuel supply disruptions and the recent redesigning of some naira notes.
“Government is working assiduously to restore normalcy to these critical enablers of economic activity and to take added measures, where necessary, to alleviate the pains of Nigerians,” the minister stated.