The Centre for Integrity and Good Governance (CIGG) has condemned the threat by civil society groups to embark on a rally against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
A body called the Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSGs) had said it would mobilise over 10,000 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to rally against the continued stay in office of Emefiele, over what it alleged to be poor handling of the economy and Naira swap policy, among others.
The Convener, CIGG, Mr Waheed Aderibigbe, in a press statement on Thursday faulted the coalition of CSOs and the grounds upon which it threatened to stage the anti-Emefiele rally.
Aderibigbe said that it was unfortunate that certain persons had been hiding under the guise of civil society advocacy to blackmail public office holders, thus tarnishing the reputation of other noble CSOs.
He said that the threat to occupy the CBN showed ignorance and a lack of understanding of the dialectics of basic economics.
According to him, rather than blame the CBN for the prevailing hardship with rising composite food index, Nigerians should query why crude oil, the nation’s major foreign exchange earner, is not refined locally.
Aderibigbe said that it was not the fault of Emefiele that an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)-member nation would prefer to export her crude oil and import refined products at exorbitant prices.
He attributed the fate of the Naira to the low receipts from the sale of crude oil and the poor export status of the Nigerian economy.
”Any attempt to blame the CBN or Emefiele for the poor state of the economy and increasing food prices shows a lack of understanding of basic economics.
”No nation will make significant economic progress if she imports more than she exports; if her primary sector is comatose and her citizens show a strange lifestyle of preferring imported products to those produced at home,” Aderibigbe said.
According to him, the government should have the political will to diversify the economy rather than rely on a single product.
“This is what has happened to Nigeria. We are paying today for the negligence of yesteryears.
“Past Nigerian governments failed to take advantage of huge earnings from crude oil export to diversify the economy, build new refineries or turn around existing ones to save forex used in importing refined petroleum products,” he said.
On the issue of Naira swap, Aderibigbe said that it was disappointing that any person or group of persons would justify a weird monetary situation whereby as of September 2022, N2.73 trillion out of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation, was outside the vaults of commercial banks across the country.
According to him, in the case of the Naira swap policy, Emefiele did what a responsible Central Bank Governor should do.
”The scarcity experienced in the early days of the policy was as a result of sabotage from some fraudulent commercial bank staff who hoarded and diverted the new notes to politicians and others with a penchant for running alternate banks in their homes and offices.
”This is against the good intentions that the policy was designed to achieve. This is not the fault of Emefiele or the CBN,” he said.