THE Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the timeframe for introduction of new naira notes by three months for the sake of its members.
MACBAN South-East leader Gidado Siddiki made the appeal in Awka, Anambra State capital, on Thursday.
He said that the extension would enable herdsmen who are mostly living in the forests and bushes due to the nature of their grazing business, to bring out their money for deposit and also exchange for the new notes to avoid huge losses.
Expressing the association’s support for the policy, Siddiki recalled that when the naira was redesigned in 1985, many herdsmen who were in their grazing settlements in rural areas across the country lost their money because of the impromptu nature of the execution of the plan.
“The cattle breeders could not meet up with the time frame given then by the apex bank as the two weeks given was not enough for them to meet up,” he said
“As a result, the majority of the herders lost their life savings because many of them do not have bank accounts and therefore do not keep their money in the banks. Their normal practice is to keep and protect their money wherever they are.
“We cannot fight or reverse the government policy as law-abiding citizens of Nigeria, but we are only appealing to the CBN to help us extend the deadline for another three months to enable the leadership of Miyetti Allah to reach out properly to those living in out-of-communication areas across states of the federation.”
In October, the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele announced a plan to redesign the N200, N500 and N1000 notes. He said the new notes will go into circulation in December while the old notes are expected to be out of circulation by January 31.
The move is aimed at having control of the currency in circulation, managing inflation, and tackling counterfeiting, he explained.
Although many Nigerians have expressed support for the policy, many are also concerned about the timeframe for returning the old notes.
On Wednesday, there was a rowdy session in the Senate after some lawmakers called for an extension of the deadline while others disagreed.
Some of the senators who spoke in favour of the extension also argued that the timeframe given by the apex bank is too short for many of them and Nigerians to comply.
Rather than interfering in the affairs of the CBN, some of the senators, who spoke against the extension argued that the bank should be given the necessary support to carry out the exercise effectively.
The Senate also resolved to provide legislative support for the policy. It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions embark on oversight to ensure that Nigerians comply and are protected by the policy.