GOV. Douye Diri of Bayalsa, has urged the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to obey the Supreme Court ruling on the old Naira notes, to ameliorate the suffering occasioned by the cash crunch on Nigerians.
Diri stated this on Monday at Yenagoa during an interactive meeting with leadership of various unions and associations of transporters, traders and petroleum marketers in the state.
The governor said with the ruling of the apex court on the matter, Nigerians expected the federal government and the CBN to speedily implement and enforce the judgment.
Diri said that the lack of direction by the federal government and the apex bank had hampered the implementation of the Naira redesign policy and the ruling of the highest court of the land.
“Clearly, when the Supreme Court has ruled on a matter, it is final. And we expect that the federal government and the CBN will implement the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“If this had to do with our own constitutional authority as a state government, we will do it.
“Constitutionally, states have no power over currency and monetary matters and cannot therefore issue directives on them except they want to play to the gallery,’’ he said.
Describing the Naira redesign and currency swap policy as laudable, Diri, however, stressed that the policy was ill-timed and its implementation had caused untold hardship on the lives and livelihoods of the people.
“I know this situation has inflicted severe hardship on many of us.
“My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been directly or indirectly affected by the adverse consequences of the implementation of the naira redesign and currency swap policy of the federal government,” he said.
The governor said the meeting was convened to interact with major stakeholders from various business sectors with a view to seeking ways to ease the challenges brought about by the Naira swap policy.
Diri also noted that his administration is aware that some traders are involved in activities that had created a system that diminished the purchasing power of the old notes.
He said the unwholesome practice is totally unacceptable to the state government and called on the leadership of the various unions and associations to prevail on errant members to desist forthwith.
“By the Supreme Court ruling, both the old and new notes have equal value and should be treated as such.
“We will not condone any illegal or discriminatory practice that will lead to a breakdown of law and order in the state,’’ he said.
Diri promised that he would meet with managers of commercial banks in the state as well as relevant officials at the federal level to suggest ways to reduce sufferings of the people.
The leadership of the various unions and associations of petroleum marketers, transporters and traders at the meeting included the state Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Peter Erefamote.
Others include State Tricycle Owners Association Chairman, Mr Sani Moniru, and that of the National Road Transport Workers Union of Nigeria, Chief Erebo Oyinkuro.
Also in attendance were the former secretary, Swali Market Traders Association, Mrs Fortune Samuel, and Mrs Christian Gwuembe of the Periwinkle Traders Association. (NAN)