There was a rowdy session at the Nigerian Senate onWednesday, during a debate on the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The debate on the policy by senators was sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Uba Sani, APC Senator representing Kaduna Central senatorial zone
The lawmaker who chairs the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, had in the prayers to his motion, urged the Senate to provide legislative support for the policy.
He also urged them to mandate his Committee to embark on aggressive oversight on the policy slated to take full effect on January 31, 2023.
Trouble started when Senators Ali Ndume, Abiodun Olujimi, Betty Apiafi, Barau Jibrin, Chukwuka Utazi, and Orji Uzor Kalu, supported the CBN policy, but suggested the extension of the deadline for compliance.
Kalu specifically wanted the Senate to invite the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to throw more light on the policy while he should be persuaded to extend the deadline to April 30, 2023.
Gabriel Suswan disagreed with Kalu and others, claiming that the CBN Governor had always shunned the Senate invitations.
He urged his colleagues to ignore the CBN policy and let the country damn the consequences.
But Bassey Akpan, stressed the need to support the CBN Governor, urging there should be no discussion on the matter.
Suswan and Akpan’s submissions did not go down well with those seeking the extension of the deadline and the chamber turned rowdy.
It took the persistent appeals by the presiding officer, Omo-Agege to return normalcy after about 15 minutes of hot arguments among the senators.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, said it was the prerogatives of the CBN to redesign the naira and put deadline for compliance.
The Senate, after the rowdy session, offered to provide legislative support for the policy and consequently mandated its Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions to go on oversight on the policy.
Ndume had earlier said there are only five banks in the entire 27 local government areas in Borno State since the insurgency started in the state, while Senator Abiodun Olujimi, argued that one and half months given for the exercise was too short to withdraw all the money in circulation to avoid shutting down the economy.
She urged the Senate to invite the CBN Governor for further explanation on the issue.
For her part, Betty Apiafi said rural banking had been shut down hence the January deadline should be extended.
She said counterfeiting shouldn’t be enough reason to change the naira.
She said the implications of the redesign should be criticality examined in view of the fact that bandits have said they would be collecting ransom in foreign currencies.