While speaking at a news conference in Abuja yesterday, President of the Coalition of Civil Society Groups, Mr. Etuk Bassey Williams spoke in support of the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, expressing complete disapproval of those demanding for his sack and also condemned the threat to embark on a protest made by people they described as ‘a shadowy, bogus and unscrupulous group parading itself as a civil society organisation’.
They made it clear that the “phony” group was not by any means a civil society organisation as revealed through an independent investigation which discovered that it was actually a political organisation of paid agents and groups sponsored by individuals who are notorious for creating trouble and breaching public peace. These groups represents the interest of a particular geopolitical zone in the country, hence there existence is not acknowledged by the coalition of civil society groups in Nigeria.
The civil society groups pointed out that the CBN Governor was being victimised as a result of the monetary policies of the bank on the implementation of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), restriction on foreign exchange allocation, reform of the Bureau De Change (BDC) sub-sector, and refusal by the Central Bank to devalue the naira. They went ahead to explain that Emefiele’s attackers are angry because he implemented the BVN, a measure which will expose looters of Nigeria’s funds. As they said;
“Given their inability to hide their identities these thieves have vowed to hound Emefiele for daring to destroy their criminal activities. May God never allow them to succeed.”
The group’s president additionally noted that the list of 41 items not qualified for forex at the CBN was unacceptable to those opposing the Governor, as the elite and business moguls had been degrading the country’s forex reserves by importing goods which could be easily produced in Nigeria.
The coalition explained that:
“By their action, these profiteers have killed jobs in Nigeria and created jobs abroad. They have exported prosperity abroad and imported poverty into their fatherland. But as long as their huge profit margins are guaranteed, they do not care. What Emefiele and his team have done is to say that we can no longer import unemployment and export wealth out of Nigeria.”
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups also noted that Emefiele was being mistreated because of the reform of the BDC sub-sector that is being carried out to make sure that authentic business people engage in the business and not serve as a cover-up for those who persistently loot the national treasury. They added that;
“It is only in Nigeria that BDCs expect government (CBN) to give them foreign exchange before they do business.”
Although they appreciated the difficulties faced by citizens of Nigeria resulting from the present economic crisis, the group nevertheless insisted that these problems were neither the making of one man nor one institution and therefore stated that it was utterly wrong to blame an individual or organisation for it, adding that the economy of Nigeria is not so bad when checked in relation to that of other countries. According to the coalition groups,
“Among commodity-exporting economies, for instance, inflation, GDP growth and employment are far worse in countries like Zambia, Ghana, and Argentina with inflation rates of between 19-28 per cent. As a matter of fact, Brazil and Russia are in recession, while South Africa is struggling to record positive growth.
“These are all linked to the fall in commodity prices in the international market. Emefiele and the CBN have so far managed to keep inflation far below what has been recorded in many comparator countries.”
The president of Coalition of Civil Society Groups, Mr. Etuk, further explained that the aim of the CBN policies under the leadership of Mr. Emefiele are to shield the ordinary Nigerians from the destructive capitalistic instincts of a few speculators. They said,
“Emefiele’s policies have truncated the rent-seeking ability of many of these economic parasites and saboteurs. And we believe it is for this singular reason that both Emefiele and the CBN are being vilified in the most unfair and disgraceful manner by a sponsored group of anarchists.
“Nigerians have been taken for a ride for too long. Our collective patrimony has been cornered by a few looters for too long. We can no longer stand idly by and watch these thieves, in collaboration with foreign neo-colonialists and imperialists, keep the masses of our people under perpetual bondage. This is the time to free Nigeria and its people from the dirty hands and greedy mouths of a few.”