The Bayelsa Government on Wednesday dissociated itself from a list of 10 state governments opposing the naira redesign policy and restated its support to the Federal Government on the exercise.
The government in a statement issued in Yenagoa demanded an apology from a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Civil Society Organisations Central Coordinating Council.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the statement distancing Bayelsa from opposing the new policy was signed by Ayibaina Duba, Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy.
Bayelsa State alongside Edo State, on Wednesday, identified with the Naira redesign policy by joining the side of the federal government to oppose 10 other states who are co-plaintiffs in a suit challenging the policy at the Supreme Court.
Mr Duba noted that the CSOs through its member, Gabriel Ojemena, falsely alleged at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday that Gov Douye Diri was among a group of 10 governors opposing President Muhammadu Buhari on the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to the statement, the CSOs also claimed that the 10 governors were disrespectful of the President and planning to make the country ungovernable if the policy was not reversed.
Mr Duba said that these false claims were not only unfounded and baseless allegations but also annoying and provocative.
The Commissioner noted that it was even more ridiculous and insensitive coming at a time the governor was mourning the passing of his father.
“The government is particularly dismayed that CSOs that should be better informed rather yielded themselves as agent-provocateur to misinform Nigerians.
“The government urges the CSOs to go study the papers that some states filed at the Supreme Court on the new notes suit instead of spreading falsehood.
“For the avoidance of doubts, Gov Diri is not opposed to the Naira re-design policy of the CBN or the Federal Government. What he is opposed to is the hardship the implementation of the policy has visited on Nigerians.
“When he spoke publicly for the first time about the policy a week ago, it was at a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Kaduna South senatorial campaign launch at Zonkwa in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“His comments in support of the policy were unflattering and unambiguous,” Mr Duba said.
Recalling what Mr Diri said at the rally, he said: “We have to reset this country. The way the country is going is not about religion and ethnicity. It is about a few people that have taken the wealth of this country for themselves.
“While we are not in support of the common man suffering as a result of the sudden CBN policy, that policy will change not only our currency but our attitude towards everything as leaders.
“While we plead with the CBN to ensure that our people do not suffer, the other side, those of them who have bullion vans, who are prepared to buy over the presidency, the CBN policy is Holy Ghost fire on them. That is why they are shouting. Why are they shouting as if it affects them more than us?
“All the CBN is saying is that anybody who does not earn money should not have money in bullion vans to go and buy over our voters. That is all the CBN has said and we support that policy.
However, make the money available to those who have earned it through their farms, trading and their legitimate business. That is all we are saying.” Duba quoted Diri as saying on 7 February
The Bayelsa government, therefore, challenged the CSOs, to show concrete proof if their motive was not a hatchet job that eventually misfired.
“If their intention was not borne out of mischief, why include Governor Diri, a PDP governor, among his colleagues of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that are purportedly against a decision taken by their ruling party in government?
“By his disposition, Gov Diri at all times, in his deeds and actions, promotes the peace and unity of Nigeria.
He would therefore not engage in any activity that would undermine his party or even the corporate existence of the country,” Mr Duba stated.
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