Economic Hardship: Tinubu Still Battling Hard To Save Naira As Gunmen Run Rampage Across Nigeria     

By Suleiman Umaru

 With barely eight months in office as President and Commander In Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state who was said to have turned the economy of the south western state around, appears to be battling to save the naira as gunmen run rampage across Nigeria.

Security experts believe that the free floating of the naira at the country’ s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, AFEM and removal of fuel subsidy which  had caused the economic hardship currently  being experienced  by Nigerians may have opened the doorway for the gunmen    who are on rampage across the country  to intensify their efforts in kidnap operations to use their victims as baits to Negotiate and ask for ransom  that runs into millions of naira .

Isa Yuguda, a former governor of Bauchi state, may have shocked Nigerians when he appeared as a guest of Channel Television, Politics today,   where he had revealed that the Tinubu’s Administration is still paying  ubsidy on  petrol, though  minimal, meaning that  ‘’if there was a complete   removal   of fuel subsidy by the present Tinubu’s Administration,’ it would have  inflicted untold hardship on Nigerians’’ that the insecurity situation in the country would be worse.

Adesina: president, AfDB

Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration, and now President of African Development Bank, AfDB, may have thrownh is weight on Olayemi Michael Cardoso, the CBN, and governor’s policies aimed at expanding the inflow of foreign exchange into the country to stabilize the naira.

Hear him:  I just saw what the CBN governor   is doing in terms of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, as regards to  raising interest rate, hoping that ‘’it will work for portfolio investors in order  to produce  more  and have some kind of  export  oriented industrial  manufacturing stance.  The former Nigerian minister of Agriculture and Rural Development  fears that to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that  Nigerians may not survive  with the current exchange rate  of the over N1,500.00 to the North Amercan country of the United States, US dollar at AFEM.

   Prof. Kinsley Moghalu, a former Deputy governor of CBN, would want the government to either issue a N20 trn bond or take a $20 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, IMF, under the close watch of  Kristalina Georgieva,  to resurrect the economy and rescue the country’s failing currency to ameliorate the hardship that had been induced on Nigerians by the harsh economic policies of the Tinubu led government over the last eight months.

There is gain saying the fact that the Nigerian government over the last seven months had taken steps to strengthening the naira as it was said to have blocked access to some of the world’s largest   crypto currency exchanges as it cracks down on currency manipulation.

 The Nigerian government had ordered the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, the telecoms regulator, ‘’to restrict Nigerian Consumers access to the websites of the companies like Binance,  Coinbase and Kraken’’   

Cardoso: Governor, CBN

Recall that  Cardoso,  the CBN,governor, had  repeatedly  accused the crypto currency companies  of ‘’manipulating the value of the naira’’. He was emphatic that the digital asset companies have become important conduits for the apex bank to establish unofficial prices for the naira.

   The CBN, governor had said that the prices quoted on Binance  crypto currency platform   had often served as  a bench mark  for local  foreign exchange rates . He noted that the local foreign exchange traders also had used the Binance exchange rate to trade between the naira and tether, the world’s largest  tablecoin, the value of which was pegged to the  Us, dollar at one to one.

Past and present Nigerian governments  had at several times adopted  unorthox  methods  ‘’to save the naira’’ by shutting down  the AbokiFX , a price setting website, between 2021 and 2023, after being accused by then Muhammady Buhari’s Administration  of illegal activities.

 This may have encouraged the  Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission, NSE, to  declare as  illegal  the activities of Binance crypto currency company and other digital asset companies operating in Nigeria on grounds that  that they were ‘’not registered or regulated by the agency’’.    

Notwithstanding the economic hardship faced by Nigerians over between 2015 and now,   Cardoso, the apex bank governor, who has the backing of President Tinubu, will beat his chest that the government economic policies are yielding result. He had alluded to the foreign investor portfolio asset purchase which was said to have exceeded $1 billion in February 2024, thus bringing the total receipts so far this year to $2.3 billion compared to $3.9 in the whole of2023 Fiscal year.

Hakama idi Ali,  CBN, spokesperson ,  had said that the country’s foreign exchange inflows  had been    by boostedoverseas remittances which   rose by  fourfold  to $1.3 billion in February 2024. The CBN , spokesperson   had  attributed  the  increased inflows  of forex into the nation’s economy  to investor’s interest  in short term  sovereign debt  following the adjustment to the ’s benchmark interest rate to 22.5%.

   Enough of the government’s effort to stabilize the naira.  We now take a cursory look at the increased rampage of gunmen across the country in the recent time.   The situation has become so worrisome that Yusuf Magaji Birchi, Director General, Department of State Services, DSS, has warned Nigerians against crowded gatherings or suspicious areas ‘’to avoid potential threat of running into dangers of Improvised Explosive Devices, IED, planted  by criminal elements.

Appealing to  Clergy men, and Imams, traditional rulers,  and other stakeholders  to refrain from economic exploitation , sabotage  and profiteering  to make things more difficult for the populace,  the DSS, helmsman , has assured Nigerians  that  in this Lenten and Ramadan period ‘the agency  ‘’will advance  a more  inclusive  and equitable  society  for all’’.

Women and children recently kidnapped in various IDP Camps in Borno state y Terrorists

One major incident in Nigeria  that was said to have touched the international Community most in the recent time  was the abduction of over 687 people by terrorists in Borno and Kaduna states . Reports making the rounds was that the Borno state based Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, had abducted more than 400 persons from the internally Displced persons, IDP, camps in  Gamboru Ngala, Babban Sasani, Zulun and some Arabic settlements, thus making nonsense of the security situation in the state  while 287 students  were  kidnapped in two secondary schools in Kuriga Community  in Chikum Local government Area , which  shares boundary with the Bienin Gwari Local government Area, described as one of the major  flashpoint areas of banditry in the state.

Uba Sani,  governor  of Kaduna state who is not ready to allow  the bandits turn the state into theatre of operational base  as was the case  during Nasir El-Rufai’s Administration,  and who was said to have visited the Kuriga Community to see things for himself, and had reiterated ‘’the Administration’s commitment ‘’too tackle insecurity in the state headlong’’.

Gov. Sani of Kaduna state, briefs President Tinubu and Nuhu Rbadu, NSA, on the Bandits atatack of schools in Kuriga community and Kidnap of 287 students

The Kaduna governor, who is not happy over what he saw on ground at the kuriga Community was said to have briefed President Tinubu and Nuhu Ribadu, a retired Assistant General of Police, AIG, and former Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and extracted a firm promise from the duo to take bold steps to rescue the abducted pupils and students   in Kuriga Community. 

As a prelude to putting  the Bandits operating  around the Kuriga Community  under check,  Governor Sani , who appears to have  been following the footsteps of Prof   Umara Zulum, governor of Borno state in the  in handling the insecurity situation in the state   has  given his words to set up  ‘’a security Committee  in the Chikun , Local government Area,  Community with membership drawn from  key stakeholders  in the village , security agencies  and the state government.

The governor , who is determined to break the wings of the bandits and  their sponsors in the state  was said to have  told those that cares to listen that  he will take up the  matter also with Christopher Gwabin Musa, an Army General and Chief of Defese Staff, CDS and Lt. Gen. Taoreed  Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff, CoAS,  for the establishment  of a military base  in Kuriga  to strengthen the security situation  in the Community  as obtained in most hotbed Communities in Zamfara, Sokoto, Borno and Yobe states.

 Officials of Amnesty International, in Nigeria, would not want the over 687 women, children including pupils and students kidnapped in various IDP Camps in Borno state and schools in Kaduna state   who are still be in the custody of the terrorists to be rescued  as they are still within the nation’s borders.

Isa Sanusi, Director  of  Amnesty  International in Nigeria  who had described  the return of  the kidnappers  who are using their victims as a bait to ask for ransom that runs to millions of naira  to use in buying weapons ‘’as  a shocking indictment  of the security agencies  persistent  failure  to protect  lives and property from attacks  by  the gunmen  who were said to have killed thousands  of Nigerians over the years.

The Amnesty International Director would want President Tinubu and his security and Intelligence Agencies Chiefs   to take all the  necessary measures ‘’ to  ensure  the safe release  and return  of the Borno IDP , Camp and Kuriga , Kaduna states victims , to rejoin their families without further delay.   

He  would want the Authorities  inn Nigeria  also to promptly , thoroughly , impartially, independently , effectively and  transparently  investigate  the recurring  cases  of abductions  in the different parts of the country in the recent time and make public their findings  for public knowledge.  

While the dust in the abduction of the over 687 people in Borno and Kaduna states  are yet to settle,  the gunmen were said to have attacked and kidnapped  another set of 15 students  at Gidan Bakuso  area  of Gada Local government area  in Sokoto state.  Liman Abubakar, proprietor of the school, had said that the number of kidnapped students may be more than the 15, already uncounted for ’’ as they are still counting the students’’.

 At a checkpoint at Ebiya Bridge along the Hilltop area of Eboyi state   in the early hours of Friday, February 9, 2024, six policemen were said to have been killed by the gunmen and escaped to thin air.  On November  17,  2023, barely  six months after former President Buhari had  left office,  two police officers  were  murdered by suspected gunmen at the same Hilltop Area checkpoint  of the south east Eboyi  state  by’’ the Operation Kill Go ‘’   criminal elements.

The trigger hungry gunmen were said attacked a military base in Zurmi Local government Area of Zamfara state last December.  There are indications that during the attack which was said to have lasted over two hours, the bandits who were heavily armed machine guns had destroyed four operational vehicles of the military including an armoured Personnel Carrier, APC.

An angry Sani, Amnesty International, Director in in Nigeria, has stopped short at saying that there are people who are beating the drums for the gunmen and   kidnappers who are hell-bent in worsening the country’s security challenges to ensure the failure of  Tinubu’s Administration.

 Vice President Kashim Shettima, who incidentally was a former governor of Borno state had said   that there are politicians who could not get power through ballot box  but instead of them to wait  till  2027, are so desperate ,  advocating that Nigeria should go the Lebanon way: take to violence.

 This may have informed why there have been increased attacks, killing and abduction in schools in various communities in the north western geoplitical region and Borno state in the recent time.’’ Nigeria will weather the storm’’, the former Borno state governor had said.

The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, may have alluded to the Vice President’s claims on Thursday, February 9, 2024, when it that the abduction of the 287 students at Kuriga Community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna state was well-planned and executed by the Bandits with the support of their sponsors to give the Nigerian governemnt a bad name in the comity of nations.                                           

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