The deadline for exchanging old naira notes for new ones may be extended, according to Ajuri Ngelale, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Public Affairs.
In doing so, he claimed that Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had misled the President over the availability of the new naira notes to Nigerians.
Ngelale claimed in an interview with TVC that Emefiele had given President Buhari the notion that the CBN had distributed enough of the new naira notes to Nigerians.
The presidential media aide stated that President Buhari gave his consent for the first deadline for the currency swap to be pushed from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023, after learning that Nigerians do not have a sufficient supply of the new naira notes.
Ngelale argued that given the naira’s current state, President Buhari, an advocate for the common man, is already analyzing developments following his meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors and won’t think twice about approving another extension if it is required.
The aide however clearly stated that the option of extending the deadline is strictly at the prerogative of President Buhari who may take the decision based on the feedback of happenings in the next few days.
He said: “What we are working to do is to ensure that Mr. President is given effective and true information that the reports that have been given by the Central Bank of Nigeria that they have adequately supplied all banking branches in the country with sufficient amounts of the new Naira notes, that this is absolutely false. It is evident at this point.
“And of course, Mr. President, being the pro-people, defender of the masses that he has always been, did the right thing when the intelligence reached him that indeed, he was getting false intelligence from the Central Bank, which was to extend the deadline from January 31 to February 10.
“Now, clearly, with the adjustment in the deadline, it was also announced that other agencies such as the EFCC and the ICPC are now actively involved in the oversight about the distribution of the new Naira notes to banking branches across the country as well as rural cash swaps with the over 30,000 Super agents that are being sent out.
“So, there is an extra level of oversight and monitoring that has now been added to the process. But with that said, it is absolutely evident that President Muhammadu Buhari is pragmatic and he is going to defend the masses of this country. If he gets any intelligence that during the course of this 10 day extension window, that the wrong things have been done or the right things have not been done, that these new Naira notes have not been made available to the masses of our people across the urban centres and across the rural communities across the country, The President has that option on the table of extending that deadline and that will be left to his discretion.
“But certainly, it’s going to be based on what he sees happening across the country over the next several days. Of course, we are heartened by the new information we received today from the central bank that now over-the-counter provisions of the new Naira notes will be made available to banking customers across the country.”