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New Naira Notes And National Security

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced that there would be a redesign of the 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes. The new notes will be released to the public on December 15, and Nigerians will have until Jan. 31, 2023 when the old notes cease to be legal tender.

This announcement has caused divided opinions among many Nigerians online and offline, and for good reasons. More people feel this move is likely to have a positive effect on the country’s general elections for next year and the country’s national security. As a result, there will not be enough of the new naira notes in circulation for any possible rigging of the election and mobilization of political hoodlums.

In the last 15 years, Nigeria has altered its currency four times. In 2009, the five naira, ten naira, and fifty naira notes were converted by CBN from paper notes to polymers. On Sep. 30, 2009, the redesigned ₦50, ₦10, and ₦5 banknotes were converted to polymer substrate following the successful performance of the ₦20 (polymer) banknote. Thus, all lower denomination banknotes were now printed in the polymer substrate. The polymer notes were introduced because they are user-friendly, look better and remain crisp over a long period, and they do not stain, rumple or tear easily. However, announcing that everyone will have to make a change in such a short period will surely cause some inconvenience and have some unintended consequences.

However, the government’s move has partly been received positively regarding the state of the country’s national security. To date, terrorist groups, armed robbers, drug dealers, and kidnappers alike have been carrying on heinous activities with impunity across the nation via several money laundering channels. Since most of these criminal elements rely on cash, with the old naira notes becoming obsolete by Jan. 31, they have a very short time window to launder all the cash in their possession.

“More than 80 percent of the 3.2 trillion naira ($7.2bn) in circulation in Nigeria are outside the vaults of commercial banks and in private hands,” said the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele, reported Aljazeera.
In the long term, some experts believe the new naira notes will force individuals and businesses to deposit high volumes of cash. Hence, giving the banks more money to give out as loans. If individuals and businesses can access loans a little easier, it will boost economic activities that will create wealth and simultaneously reduce inflation and crime.

The jury is still out!
Advocacy – School Debate
Winners of the HRF’s school debate at Akure Commercial Secondary School in Akure, Ondo State during its Education and Human Rights advocacy campaign. The event took place on December 9, 2022 in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day .  It was a great time educating the students on fundamental human rights and what HRF is all about.

L-R: (2nd Left) Vice-Principal, Mrs. Ayodeji; (2nd Right)  HRF Vice-President, Bukola Seun-Arije, with the winner, Olatunji Favour, 1st runner-up, Orji Pricess, and 2nd runner-up, Godwin Mercy during the awards ceremony.
HRF-West team posing for a TGIF picture after the debate and awards ceremony.

L – R: Admin & Legal Associate, Toyin Sanusi; Miracle Agbadu, E.C. Nnamdi; HRF Vice-President, Bukola Seun-Arije; Legal Associate, B.C. Obilor; Toun Yinusa, Regional Coordinator, A.Y. Aliyu, and K.T. Duru.
HRF facilitated the release of indigent client, Jeremiah Akan , on December 16, 2022, in Lagos State, after awaiting trial and incarcerated for 3 months. The case was struck out after the defendant signed an undertaking and apologized to the complainant.

L-R: Jeremiah Akan, and HRF Legal Associate, Ni’mah Ali. 

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