Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka asserts that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele “committed a crime against humanity” with the redesigned currency policy.
On Monday, the renowned author gave an interview to Channels TV.
In October 2022, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the idea to redesign the naira in order to manage money supply and aid security authorities in combating illicit financial activities.
The new naira banknotes were introduced on December 23, 2022.
The policy implementation deadline was originally set for January 31, 2023, however it was extended to February 10.
The withdrawal of the old currency caused a cash shortage in the country, resulting in hardship for many Nigerians.
As Nigerians tried to obtain the scarce new naira notes, the cash shortage sparked protests in several regions of the country.
On February 3, Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara filed a lawsuit with the supreme court challenging the implementation of the programme.
Soyinka denounced the strategy as a “crime” that was “above even any electoral mago mago” that occurred during the just finished general election in the country.
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari must also bear some responsibility for the policy’s spillover effects.
“Do not harass me. Don’t silence my voice. Don’t take away my economic potential or my economic rights. Nobel laureate: “Do not abandon me to the mercy of people like Emefiele.”
“He and his boss, Buhari, since ultimately, he [Buhari] is responsible for allowing this to occur. He [Emefiele] is the expert, however. He is the one who provides advise and carries out the policies.
“Emefiele has perpetrated a heinous crime against mankind, beyond even his political misconduct.
“He hit to the core of the subsisting survival principles, minimal necessities, and entitlements of the average citizens.
You cannot purchase a newspaper. You are unable to purchase guguru [popcorn] and epa [groundouts], which means you cannot pay for plantain; hence, the farmer cannot even pay for the transportation of his commodities from the farm to the markets.”
The supreme court overturned the policy on March 3, determining that the previous N200, N500, and N1000 notes will remain legal money until December 31, 2023.