The Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, addressed the people of the State on Friday following last week’s protest in Abeokuta against the insufficient supply of the new naira notes recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
During the broadcast, Abiodun assured the residents of his government’s full support and intervention to remedy the situation by providing some succour to our people.
The Governor further appealed to leaders at various levels, including revered Royal Fathers, Civil Society Organisations, Youth Organisations, Students’ Bodies, Organised Labour and Religious Leaders, to help sensitise people on the need to embrace peace and Dialogue in resolving these issues.
Here is the full text of the speech read by the Governor:
BROADCAST BY THE GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY PRINCE DAPO ABIODUN MFR,
ON THE ISSUES OF FUEL AND CASH CRUNCH CRISES, HELD ON FRIDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY, 2023
Dear Fellow Citizens of Ogun State,
2. The lingering fuel and scarcity of cash crises we have witnessed across the country in the past few days have been of utmost concern to our government. The crisis reached its peak on Tuesday, 7th February 2023, in Abeokuta, our State Capital, when some of our people took to the streets in protest against the insufficient supply of the new naira notes recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
3. You will recall that the CBN had, in September 2022, announced the redesign of the 1,000, 500, and 200 naira notes and introduced them into circulation effective the 15th day of December 2022. The Apex bank originally scheduled 31st day of January 2023 as the date when the old 1,000, 500, and 200 notes would cease to be legal tender. The deadline was later extended to the 10th day of February 2023. During this period, people were urged to deposit their old notes in their banks, which most of us promptly complied with.
4. However, getting the deposited funds out of the banks in new notes by individuals and businesses has become challenging. This situation has brought untold hardship to our people, especially the common man, who almost entirely depends on cash for every monetary or business transaction. Many are finding it extremely difficult to either put food on their tables or even transport themselves from one point to the other to make a living.
5. As a responsive and responsible government, we quickly suspended our re-election campaign to attend to this urgent matter of the welfare and well-being of our people. I have attended a series of meetings with stakeholders, within and outside the State, so as to find an urgent solution to this situation. Along with my brother-governors from the All Progressives Congress (APC), we met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele and also took the matter up with the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. Our prayer was that the old naira notes should be allowed to run along as legal tender with the newly redesigned ones until enough of the new notes were in circulation. Both of them assured us that the situation would soon be resolved in the interest of our people and the economy. We were convinced that this would be done expeditiously.
6. On my part as your Governor, on Monday, 6th February 2023, I met with the Controller and Management of the Central Bank, Abeokuta Branch, for first-hand knowledge of the efforts being made by the Apex Bank to bring relief to depositors. I confirmed that the CBN had delivered cash to the CBN Abeokuta branch. I was assured that the supply to banks would commence the next day, Tuesday, 7th February 2023.
7. The CBN also promised to ensure prompt disbursement to banks as soon as they receive cash from their headquarters. With these assurances, I summoned a meeting of the Bankers’ Forum, comprising managers of all the money deposit banks in the State. They also promised prompt disbursement to customers. On the part of the government, we committed to providing the necessary assistance required by the banks in order to ensure the effective supply and distribution of cash.
8. We understand the frustration and hardship being experienced by our people by these unintended consequences of the new naira policy. We are, however, saddened by the descent into violence that trailed the protest in Abeokuta. This is not who we are in Ogun State. We are known for our peaceful conduct and for resolving whatever crises we have in the Omoluabi way – in a non-violent manner.
9. The #ENDSARS crisis was a case in point. Our people made their points without recourse to criminality. It is the conduct of this nature that earned us the honour of being the most peaceful State in Nigeria. I appeal to our people, especially our youths, not to take the law into their hands. We have heard their voices loud and clear, and we are responding. I want to assure you that necessary measures are being taken, and in the next few days, you will see in concrete terms the manifestations of the relief being sought.
10. I appeal to our leaders at various levels, including our revered Royal Fathers, Civil Society Organisations, Youth Organisations, Students’ Bodies, Organised Labour and Religious Leaders, to help sensitise our people on the need to embrace peace and Dialogue in resolving these issues. I am more than convinced that the CBN Policy on the New Naira Notes is not a punitive measure but aimed at addressing perceived fundamental problems associated with money management in our economy.
11. While the CBN has assured that there will be adequate money supply to the money deposit banks in the days ahead, we expect the banks to promptly disburse the money as directed and not to divert or withhold the same for whatever reasons. The government will treat any erring banks and bankers as economic saboteurs and will not hesitate to wield the big stick.
12. Just as we are tackling the naira supply challenge, your government is equally working round the clock to facilitate the adequate supply of petroleum products to designated filling stations. The result will be seen in the next few days.
13. Violence can never resolve these issues. We must all join hands to solve these problems. Attacking the banks or any public facility will never do us any good. We should not allow unscrupulous elements to take advantage of these challenging times. This is a phase, and we shall surely overcome it.
14. As a responsible administration, despite all the aforementioned, and worried about how long this has taken to resolve, We have decided to directly provide palliatives to the poor and vulnerable citizens across the length and breadth of the State. We will be distributing the first phase of 400,000 food items through our social investment officers in each LGA to the communities starting this weekend.
We hope this social intervention provides some succour to our people. Again, we apologise for the inadvertent hardship and inconvenience this policy has caused all of us.
15. Let me also appeal to our security agencies to handle this situation with more professionalism and deeper maturity. Indeed, these are trying times for all of us. I appeal to all of us to exercise patience because the much-desired relief is around the corner. Let us give peace a chance.
Let me use the opportunity to introduce to you the good people of Ogun State, your new Commissioner of police CP Frank Mba who has just taken the leadership of the Ogun state police command at a time like this. He has graciously asked that I avail you of the telephone number so that you can reach him whenever the need arises 07025000383.
16. Thank you for your kind attention