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Tinubu’s CBN Investigator Recommends Immediate Withdrawal Of New Naira Notes From Circulation



Jim Obazee, President Bola Tinubu’s special ant-corruption chief, has recommended the immediate withdrawal of new naira notes introduced in 2022, saying the national currency was illegal and sought criminal charges against its proponents.
“The redesigned naira is illegal and should be withdrawn from circulation with immediate effect,” Mr Obazee said, adding that Godwin Emefiele, the former CBN chief, and his erstwhile lieutenants should “be made to face criminal charges for this aberration that led to loss of lives of many Nigerians, the closure of business and joblessness.”
Mr Obazee’s recommendation could plunge the country into a fresh round of currency crisis even as the initial chaos that followed last year’s introduction of new notes has continued to choke commercial activities across the country.
A presidential spokesman did not immediately return a request seeking comments about how the president was weighing the recommendation, which was conveyed in a memo dated on or about December 20. Mr Obazee was appointed in July to look into the books of the CBN after Mr Tinubu abruptly removed Mr Emefiele as the bank’s governor.

While supporters touted the president’s action as necessary to correct alleged lawlessness of Mr Emefiele and other top officials of outgone Buhari administration, critics accused the president of seeking retribution because the former top banker sought the ruling All Progressives Congress’ presidential ticket.
Then-Candidate Tinubu’s surrogates also alleged during the campaign that the redesign of naira notes, which seemed to be focused mostly on altering the colours, was aimed at sinking his chances.
After the new notes were introduced in October 2022, the CBN invalidated existing notes, saying they ceased to be legal tender. The policy was challenged by Kaduna, Ogun and other states at the Supreme Court, which ruled that the redesign was indeed illegal and that previously withdrawn notes should be reintroduced into circulation.
The Buhari government said the old notes were destroyed upon withdrawal from circulation, although it failed to show any evidence of the destruction. More than a year after the policy, new notes in circulation have not been able to meet nationwide demand, and Mr Obazee did not suggest how their abrupt removal could be implemented without doing further economic harm to the nation.

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