The rejection of the plan to introduce the 5,000 note (US$31) as Nigeria’s highest currency denomination by a cross section of people in the country has continued to reverberate, as more groups protest the plan.
On Monday, a coalition of human rights activists staged a protest against the plan in the economic capital city of Lagos, saying it will aid money laundering, inflation and corruption.
The private Punch newspaper reported Tuesday that the activists carried placards and a mock coffin as they marched around Agege, a suburb of the city.
The protesters, drawn from the Concerned Human Rights Nigeria(CHRN), Civil Societies for Good Governance, Joint Action Front, United Action for Democracy, Gani Fawehinmi Foundation and United Middle Belt Youth Congress, among others, said the coffin signified the rejection and death of the policy.
Some of the placards have such inscriptions like “Nigerians do not need N5,000 note,” “Jonathan! Nigerians say no to N5,000 note; it is evil,” “Nigerians are wiser than Jonathan and his team,” and “Sanusi – Mr. Central Bank; we thought you were wise”.
A spokesman for the protesters, Mr. Declan Ihekaire, described the planned introduction of the 5,000 naira note as insensitive on the part of the federal government.
“The Federal Government wounded the masses through its ‘wicked’ fuel price hike, now (it) is an attempt to bastardise our currency with no recourse to the masses. Who told them that currency printing is the masses’ desire? I submit that this administration is lazy, wicked, callous and insensitive to the yearnings of the masses,” he said.
The activist also said the 5,000 naira note was in conflict with the ‘cashless policy’ of the administration, adding that the aim of the policy was to ensure that fewer people conduct their transactions in cash.
PANA reports that since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the proposed introduction of new 5,000 note a few weeks ago, several groups, individuals and professional bodies have spoken out against it.
Last week, the government formally endorsed the proposal, which is part of a wide ranging reform of the national currency.
The CBN has also launched efforts to defend the plan, saying Nigerians can reject being paid with the new note by the banks if they so wished.