Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), harshly criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday for attempting to impose the cashless policy on Nigerians.
Sagay, who supported requests to extend the deadline for old note withdrawals of January 31 in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, claimed that most automated teller machines (ATM) are still distributing old notes while the new ones are not yet widely available.
Sagay referred to CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele’s assertion that the policy cannot be changed as boorish, uncivilized, and barbaric and warned that, if urgent action is not taken, the policy might lead to an economic catastrophe for Nigeria.
He said, “I am even angry that this government allows him to do that because it will make the APC unpopular. This hardship is being created under an APC government and election is just around the corner.
“I think Emefiele may be a mole from another party trying to create hatred for the APC. I don’t understand why he should bring this policy at this time when we are just few days to the general election.
“I don’t understand why this government should accept such a recommendation which is most unfavourable to them and their political chances in the forthcoming elections. For me, the whole thing is a disaster”.
Speaking further, he said the developed nations which Emefiele is trying hard to imitate are still using notes as legal tender and do not introduce new notes in a hasty manner the way the CBN governor was going about it.
“I think the whole thing (cashless policy) is a disaster. I don’t like people trying to show off that they are very modern. You are introducing cashless policy bla la bla, you want to be like America. In America, they are still using cash. I was there this year. I used cash on many occasion.
“So, nobody is forcing you to adopt cashless policy. It is the African man that wants to imitate and he does that in a very ignorant and uncivilised manner. Why is Emefiele trying to force people? Why is he putting deadline on the usage of the old currency?
“The deadline is almost here now yet the new currency is not available. I have been withdrawing money and all I’m getting are the old notes.
“Why should he even tell me how much to withdraw from my own money? If I find the electronic transfer more convenient, I will adopt it without anyone mounting pressure on me to do so.
“For example, I have ATM card now because it is convenient for me to use. It is a matter of convenience, not usage of force. Africans tend to imitate in a brutish manner, using force without providing the facility that will make what they want to do possible. By doing so, they inflict hardship on societies. If we are not careful, this CBN policy can create an economic disaster for this country”.