Currency Changes Targeted At People Hoarding Illicit Funds- Buhari

Just hours to the end of the January 31 deadline and baring last minute change of heart, President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday insisted that the ongoing the change of currency in the country is targeted at those “hoarding illicit funds and not the common man.”

He was apparently reacting to insinuations by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, candidate of Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) that the currency redesigning and swap announced last October was aimed at frustrating his presidential ambition.

In a statement by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Buhari also noted that the move “had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding.”

“This, he assured, will stabilize and strengthen the economy,” Shehu added.

Government, he stressed, “will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end shortly.”

He noted reports of long queues of people waiting for hours for their turn to deposit old notes and get new ones, triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism.

While taking note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, President Buhari gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate, he added.

A number of initiatives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all commercial banks, he assured, are underway to speed up distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.