The Socialist Workers & Youth League (SWL) and the Take it Back (TIB) movement call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop worsening the suffering of poor working people of Nigeria. We are particularly concerned about the new Naira policy, which we believe is wrong-headed. Our reasoning is outlined as follows:
- The policy was unnecessary: the much circulated justification of using it to stop capitalist moneybags running for elections does not hold water; those same people own the banks or those who own banks and monies would rather be brought to them at home. It is the poor masses that suffer from this misadvised cash swap policy.
- Deliberate Demonetisation: In a largely informal economy which Nigeria is with more than 50% of bankable population not having bank accounts, deliberately reducing access to cash is hare-brained more so as the e-channels are not robust enough as has been shown.
- The timing is suspect: while the announcement of the policy was made in October, the “redesigned” notes were put into circulation only in December and for people to change it by January ending (and later extended to 10 February). And coming up at a time when there was already severe fuel shortages, the policy can be considered as one designed to inflict maximum suffering on the masses, as collateral damage of in-fighting within the ruling class. Further to the now engineered supreme court interim injunction, what needs to be done is to allow the old and new currencies continue to be in circulation until the old notes are completely replaced by the new notes.
- The anger expressed by the Nigerian people is righteous and justified; the people are frustrated; the government has been serially and consistently frustrating our lives! Enough is enough!!! Our people while expressing their anger must note that bank workers are victims as well and all workers and masses must unite and not allow themselves to be turned against each other, the enemy are those who have brought hardship on ordinary Nigerians.
- Strategy to scuttle the elections: we view the policy and its timing as a questionable ploy to generate unrest and affect the holding of elections, by sections of the ruling class for less than honourable reasons. The elections must be held as scheduled and they must be free, fair and transparent. The Nigerian people must also send a message with their votes by voting the only socialist alternative on the ballot. The other parties have said their programmes are all the same, the African Action Congress (AAC) is contesting as the voice of liberation on the ballot to stop the current practice of the rich getting richer by enslaving the mass of poor people, whose lives have been made “poor, nasty, brutish and short.” In its place, total liberation for the working masses is the aim of the AAC.
- For every day the CBN refuses to reverse course on its decision, it chooses to consciously risk the lives and safety of all Nigerians, including bank workers, who have suffered the brunt of this wrong-headed policy. This cash swap crisis has also further confirmed the fact that the powerful and rich few primarily make laws for the social control of we, the people. When poor people break the law or court decisions, we go to jail. The CBN governor, who obviously has the backing of the faction of the ruling class presently in Aso Rock has disregarded the injunction secured (even if for less than selfless reasons) by some governors for the extension of the currency change beyond the 10 February deadline, with no consequence, thus far.
- We hold Godwin Emefiele primarily responsible as the arrowhead, for every injury or loss of life arising from the current crisis: He continues to show an utter lack of regard for the Nigerian people. He clearly thinks very little of the lives of poor Nigerians. We are secondary to his self-interested machinations and schemes on behalf of some factions of the ruling class., That is why he does not mind subjecting Nigerians to the violent consequences of his poorly developed plans. In addition, the CBN governor is unashamedly political and incompetent. He bought the N100m naira APC presidential nomination form and began a subterranean campaign for the presidency. He has also been formally accused by the DSS, in sworn court affidavits, of complicity in funding terrorism. His continued employment as the GBN governor is untenable.
- While Emefiele is a central figure in the current situation, we hold the ruling class collectively responsible for the worsening suffering of the working people. Both the faction of the rich few behind the CBN Governor, and those who now appear to care for the suffering masses with their demands for an extension of the swap, actually stand for the same thing; winning or defending their political power to enable their continuation with exploitation of our natural resources and labour power.
- We call for the immediate reversal of the new Naira notes rollout by the CBN, as we do not assess this to be top on the list of priorities that the CBN should be addressing. Presently, Nigerians are bearing the economic burden of our rapidly devaluing currency, stagnated wages, excessive banking fees, and poor monetary policies.
- We also call for the immediate sacking and investigation of Godwin Emefiele. He has shown himself not only to be an incompetent administrator of Nigeria’s apex bank. He has also showed that he is, in fact, a malignant actor. One who is far more motivated by self-aggrandisement than by the duties expected of the administrator of a central bank.
- We demand that all necessary steps be taken to ensure fuel is available and at the official rate of N165. We will not accept any increase of fuel pump price by cunning or force.
- We urge the trade unions, and all working-class people’s organisations to stand up with one voice against the handful of rich people, including the politicians amongst them, who have turned our lives to a hell on earth and brought us to this edge of the cliff. We must unite and fight for our total liberation NOW.
Frances Akinjole Juwon Sanyaolu
National Chair, SWL National Coordinator, TIB
Kelvin Ayemhenre Abdulrahman Abdulmajid
National Secretary, SWL National Secretary, TIB