*Says CBN Mopped Up N3.5 Trillion But Only Disbursed N402 Billion in New Notes
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is facing backlash after confirming it has only disbursed N402 billion of the new redesigned naira notes, despite mopping up N3.5 trillion from circulation.
According to human rights lawyer Femi Falana SAN, the CBN had claimed it supplied enough new cash to commercial banks in line with its recent currency redesign policy.
However, acute shortages led to anger amongst customers who attacked and destroyed bank buildings and ATMs in protest.
The cash crunch brought economic activities to a standstill and resulted in at least 5 deaths with many more injured. It was only after the Supreme Court extended the deadline for withdrawing old notes that the crisis was averted.
Demanding information on the actual cash disbursed, the CBN has now admitted it only gave out N402 billion in new notes after withdrawing N3.5 trillion. This is seen as deception by the suspended CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele who had insisted sufficient funds were made available.
According to Falana, Emefiele and CBN management should be prosecuted for incitement and culpable homicide. He also demands the CBN rebuild damaged bank structures and compensate families of victims killed in unrest triggered by the cash shortage.
The wide gap between the huge sums withdrawn and the little disbursed has raised questions on the handling of the currency swap exercise. Critics say the poor implementation led to needless unrest and loss of lives.