By Nze Chidi Duru
It appears my advocacy centred around discouraging the abuse of the Naira and the dollarisation of a large segment of the nation’s economy is gaining traction.
Over the past few days I have observed with interest, new and emerging realities in the nation’s public sector as the government and it’s security agencies have continued to take actions concerning the twin issues of abuse of the Naira and the dollarisation of the economy.
Just about two weeks ago, a popular Nollywood actress, Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison for spraying the Naira and trampling on it. I publicly endorsed this conviction in an article I circulated last week to commemorate that historic conviction of Oluwadarasimi. However, the caveat is that the conviction should not be an appearance of motion but a true movement reflective of the determination of the government to continue to sustain actions to change the depressing narrative of how some Nigerians have turned the national currency into doormats in show of shameful ego tripping.
While trusting security agencies to up their game in the matter of the trampling upon of the Naira, the announcement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that it has set up a task force to enforce extant laws against currency mutilation and dollarization of the economy is most welcomed.
This, as I noted earlier, is a paradigm shift, at least, for the first time, Nigerian authorities have publicly made a commitment to sanction people who demand payments for goods and services rendered within the domestic economy in Dollar or other foreign currencies. I understand that already, the Commission had arrested some perpetrators of issuance of invoices in dollars and mutilation of the Naira in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
This, indeed, is the route to take as the government make to revamp our rather challenged economy at the moment. No economy survives the abandonment of its currency in preference of others within the domestic sphere. The simple implication is that once this is allowed, the economy suffers a somewhat double jeopardy in both international and domestic merchandising. Thus, we have a situation where the Naira is under pressure for international and local transactions at the same time .We have seen how pressures like these have nearly impaled our dear Naira in current time.
Going forward, I strongly ask the security agencies responsible for the de-dollarisation engagement to adopt the citizens approach by inviting the public to join in the containment of this hazard to our national economy by providing fee -toll telephone lines for the public to call dedicated call centres to report incidences of dollar invoicing or demand and abuse of the Naira.
-Duru is the Deputy National Organising Secretary of All Progressives Congress