Controversial islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has poked holes in the plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the Naira notes, asserting that it would cause kidnappers to demand dollars instead.
Gumi made this known in a statement he released on his Facebook page on Saturday.
The cleric who is known for intervening in matters concerning bandits and allegedly speaking on their behalf said the move would not favor the average Nigerian.
Gumi, who is the current Mufti and Mufassir at the Sultan Bello Mosque, argued further that a number of Northerners had no access to banks also where notes would be exchanged.
“I, the Islamic scholar contended that the policy was clearly anti-people as it is ill-timed for a government that is winding up to take such measures.
Eighty per cent of Nigerians, especially the rural dwellers depend on cash transactions. A sudden change to a cashless or cash-starved society will mean pauperising them in a short time and this can trigger – God Knows- an unprecedented socio-economic turmoil in this semi-skilled or unskilled population.
People that sell goods will tell you that most Nigerians don’t have the money to buy things; therefore most traders are running at a loss and are already folding up. At this junction, anything that can cause more cash crunch will be a disaster for the nation.
Speaking further, Gumi lamented that:
“Many good ideas are marred by wrong timing. This is likely to be another one. No matter how ingenious the hatchers may romanticise, the benefit will remain phantom since the reality on the ground is incongruous and it spells doom for the escapade. If there is any advantage of such adventures, it usually comes after many years of excruciating poverty and hardship. That is why no well-meaning government should hand over such cruelty to another incoming government to manage.
“Had it started in 2015, it would have been logical now since the same government will bear the consequence of its action”, he stressed.
We are a witness when the banning of motorcycles, sale of petrol and the blockage of communication in banditry-infested states did not help to curb the menace but rather made the populace suffer the more.
This clearly shows that the government doesn’t consider the pros and cons of its activities, which are largely haphazard, not well thought through, and worst still clumsily executed.
Mopping the cash from the populace as it claims to swell commercial banks will give an unfair advantage to a few people that control the banks against the greater population.
As for the North which is poorly represented in the banking system, it’s a sure economic suicide. How many Nigerians have access to banks? How many do have the privilege to enjoy the most simple of banking loans?
You need to know someone to get a loan is no news. In such a Nigeria, with this tight control of cash flow, the nation is treading towards communism and dictatorship. What we need is a free market-driven economy with minimal cash flow control.
As for the question of starving kidnappers of Naira, it goes without saying that they will resort to Dollars and other hard currencies which will further put more pressure on it making the rotten situation worse.
Kidnapping can only be stopped by robust policing, social justice for all, and equitable wealth distribution. Any cosmetic measures will not stop it.”