Friday’s attempt by a group to stage a protest against the foreign exchange policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) failed as the group led by Deji Adeyanju, could not muster enough public support.
The group, described by the CBN as “paid hirelings and blackmailers,” which was earlier been warned to desist from the plot by the Police, had been mobilizing Nigerians to join the protest.
At about 9:30 am when about 12 people gathered at a junction close to the Women Development Centre in Central Area, Abuja, Adeyanju told reporters that they were at the apex bank’s Abuja headquarters for explanations as to why the Naira should be allowed to weaken against the US Dollar.
Received by the policemen on routine duty at the junction, the gathering dispersed after about five minutes, apparently aware that the plot had failed to receive the needed public support.
The CBN had in statement earlier, alerted the public to an arranged protest by a paid group working for “powerful interests who want the CBN and government to reverse the policy on conservation of forex and sabotage the ongoing efforts to wean Nigerians from senseless importation. “
This group of opportunists, the statement further noted, “want to create markets for importers to the overall detriment of the Nigerian economy.
“No amount of blackmail will make the CBN allow a practice where by our farmers and industrialists who have invested heavily and employed our youths in the production of Nigerian made rice, fish, industrial starch, palm produce, wheat, tooth pick, wines, etc, would be made to close their farms and factories again.”
The CBN said the group of charlatans and hirelings want their sponsors to be given access to the nations scarce foreign exchange so as “to import all manner of foreign goods and dump them on our markets, thereby frustrating the good work our own farmers and manufacturers have begun”.
Also, the statement noted that the group wants “the CBN to fold its arms and allow currency speculators to drive the naira down to a level at which it will be easy for their paymasters to buy up and take control of the Nigerian economy. They have even gone to the extent of making false allegations that some banks are having trouble just to trigger panic in the financial system.
These will not happen, the CBN stressed, as Nigerians have since rejected these foreign agents, especially at a time when 26 states have adopted the its novel Anchor Borrowers Progrmme (ABP) in their belief that the country can become “self-sufficient in rice, fish and wheat production.
Evidence of the success of the programme, the CBN noted, is not afar of, considering what happened during the past Christmas and New Year celebrations. One of the most glaring testimony of the nation’s ability to feed itself and conseve scarce foreign exchange is the partnership between Kebbi and Lagos state in the area of agriculture that enabled Lagosians buy rice during the festivities at neabout half the price of the majority that were smuggled through the land borders.
”It will be economically suicidal for the CBN to allocate our scarce forex to those who will engage in another escapade in senseless importation which will again discourage our local producers who have borrowed money to engage in agriculture and local manufacturing. It will be dangerous to our poor people in the rural areas and indeed to masses of Nigerian workers who are on fixed incomes for the CBN to allow speculators to drive the value of the naira to any level just for the selfish gains of the sponsors of these arrangee protests. We will not succumb to blackmail.