No going back on N5000 Note, Bakassi – FG Tells Nigerians

ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, rebuffed criticisms against the introduction of
N5,000 note in the country, insisting that there was no going back on the decision.
Similarly, the government insisted that, notwithstanding fresh facts that have been
unearthed by the Vanguard to prove that Bakassi peninsula belongs to Nigeria, and which
were concealed during trial, it will not appeal the 2002 verdict of the International Court of
Justice which ceded the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon.
Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, conveyed government’s position on the issues,
Tuesday night in Abuja, while speaking as a guest of People’s Forum, a programme
organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.
His position was in apparent response to the resolutions of the Senate, the House of
Representatives and the Nigeria Bar Association which had variously urged the Federal
Government not only to appeal the ICJ judgment but also halt the planned restructuring of
the country’s currencies by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Maku also said those who have so far commented on the issues at different fora, were
expressing their views, noting that expression of views was the fundamental right of every
citizen in the country.
He said the resolutions of the two chambers of the National Assembly on the issues, asking
the Federal Government not only to appeal the ICJ judgment on Bakassi but also direct the
CBN to stop its proposed structuring of the country’s currencies, were not binding. He argued
that only the law made by the National Assembly was binding on both the government and
its citizens just as he said that the apex bank, being independent, should be allowed free
hands to do its work like others in the developed world.
“A resolution by the National Assembly is not an Act. The National Assembly makes laws but
the laws are different from resolutions. While the laws made by the National Assembly are
binding on the government, including citizens, the same is not with resolutions. Resolutions
are not binding on government as they are just positions of the legislators. The government
can say yes, we have seen your position but this way is better”, he said.
On the Bakassi peninsula, the minister said shortly after the ICJ verdict, the Federal
Government had since signed agreement with Cameroon not only to concede the Bakassi to
it in accordance with the ICJ verdict but assist in resettling, as well as give protection to
indigenes of the area who wish to remain in Nigeria.
“It is surprising that this issue is coming up again, this case was in the International Court of
Justice for long and after years of legal arguments by both Nigeria and Cameroon, a
judgment was passed in favour of Cameroon, and Nigeria, in respect to the ICJ judgment,
came out and signed an agreement that it had honoured the judgment. Nigeria and
Cameroon are neighbours and have a good standing relationship. The two countries have
been living together and will continue to live together for ever. They have been peaceful with
each other for long. It is not at this time that they should begin to have problem over issues
that should have been amicably resolved. So, I think Nigeria’s position is still in conformity
with the outcome of the International Court of Justice”, he said.
The minister charged people to try to harp on issues that would promote peace and
harmonious co-existence instead of those that tend to cause unnecessary tension, saying
what Africa needed for rapid growth and unity was peace among member countries.
“Between Nigeria and Cameroon, there are several communities which members are
Cameroon and which members are Nigerians; so I believe we have a duty to promote peace
among ourselves, between the two countries”, he added.
Speaking on the planned restructuring of the currencies, the Information Minister said the
CBN, which is responsible for the planned action should not be crucified as, according to him,
its head, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had not misled the country in any form.
He said the CBN boss meant well for the country, citing the action he took few months after
mounting the saddle, which, he noted, had reformed the banking sector today and built
customers’ confidence as well as provide efficient service delivery in the banks.
“I think the way the Central Bank of Nigeria has been able to manage our economy without
borrowing, is quite commendable and should be appreciated”, he insisted.
The minister said no action of the apex bank as regards currency restructuring in Nigeria’s
history had come without criticisms, saying at the end of the day, the same people who had
stood against it would see reason and begin to applaud the development. “When the N20
note, N500 note and N1000 note were introduced, people said they were not good for our
economy but after the whole thing, they began to see reasons”, he noted.
He said the Economic Management Team endorsed the restructuring bid after the CBN boss
was able to convince the team with his explanations on what the country stands to gain in
carrying out the action, and urged every other citizen to do same.
“I think we should allow the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide leadership, give us what they
are to do, it is not a matter of opinion poll but it is a matter that the experts know what they
are doing. See the way he (Sanusi) took us through the period of financial meltdown, we
were able to survive the situation without borrowing. The Central Bank has exuded a lot of
confidence that we should give them support”, he charged.
However, there were insinuations that President Goodluck Jonathan may agree to reverse his
administration’s plan to introduce the 5,000 naira note. The President was said to have met
with the leadership of the National Assembly hours after the stormy sessions of the
Assembly on Tuesday and assured that any “approval given in this regard can be reversed
since it is the wish of the people”. It is unclear whether the president has issued a directive
to that effect.
Culled: Vanguard:

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