The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has weighed in on the nationwide scarcity of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes, telling President Muhammadu Buhari that the policy will not fight corruption.
Buhari has repeatedly defended the swift introduction of the new notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and phase-out of the old notes in a span of weeks. Amid the hardships brought on by the policy which took effect in December 2022 with the unveiling of the new notes, the policy continues to enjoy the support of the President. The government argues that the CBN directive is aimed at hoarders of illicit funds and corrupt politicians in the buildup to the general elections scheduled for February 25 and March 11.
Wike however derided the implementation on Friday while giving an address at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally in Okrika Local Government Area (LGA), Rivers State. “Mr President, I know the pressure. But please, since two of us are going at the same time, this policy has nothing to [do with trying to] fight corruption at all. It has nothing to [do with trying to] fighting politicians at all,” he said.
“The policy aims to suffer the people who elected us to govern over them (sic). Our business is not to make the people suffer. We all know how to fight corruption; we all know how to fight politicians. This particular one does not come in at all.”