The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Friday, criticised the planned redesign of the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The revered cleric expressed displeasure that the Federal Government is concerned with the redesigning of naira notes despite the falling value of the national currency.
Adeboye, who spoke during the church’s November Holy Ghost Service with the theme, ‘Let It Rain’, also said the naira does not even worth the paper it is printed on as people cannot afford to feed.
“You know what’s going on in our country. It doesn’t even make sense anymore. Our naira now is not even worth the paper it is printed on,” the octogenarian said at the programme held at RCCG’s international headquarters along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“And while people are hungry, trying to find enough money to buy bread to eat, our bosses are thinking of making the naira more beautiful, even if it can’t buy bread, at least, it will look beautiful. Oh Lord, have mercy,” he said.
According to him, things have become funnier in Nigeria. “We have problems in the land now. Things seem to be getting funnier and funnier. If you don’t learn to laugh in Nigeria now, you will develop hypertension,” the cleric stated.
‘God Hasn’t Told Me Anything About 2023 Elections’
Adeboye further said God has not told him yet whether there will be an election in Nigeria next year or not.
“Do you know that up till now, and this is November, up till now, Daddy (God) hasn’t told me yet that there is going to be an election next year?
“We continue of course as if there is going to be. I am saying that Adeboye, I am not talking of other people, God has not told me yet. The yet must be in capital (letters). He may tell me tomorrow; I don’t know but as of this moment, he hasn’t told whether or not there will be an election next year,” he said.
“I am not trying to frighten you. I am not a prophet, I am just a pastor,” he added.
The cleric reiterated that he will pray for any politician who comes to him for prayer, saying his duty is to pray but only God answers.
He subsequently announced a fast and prayer for the nation between November 26 and December 2, 2022.
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“We will praise God for His patience over us and over our nation. Then, we will confess our sins, the sins of all of us who are called Christians…And then prayer point number three, we will ask Him (God) for mercy,” Adeboye said.
Naira Redesign Controversy
On October 26, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the apex bank will issue redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, effective December 15, 2022, while the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023.
Though the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, protested that her ministry was not carried along, the apex bank said it followed due process.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari said he fully supports the move to redesign the three notes. Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu in a statement said the “reasons given to him by the CBN convinced him that the economy stood to benefit from the reduction in inflation, currency counterfeiting and the excess cash in circulation”.
However, some prominent Nigerians including Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has criticised the government’s policy, saying it is purely political and has no basis in economics.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commended the move by the CBN and warned currency speculators and Bureau de Change (BDC) operators not to undermine it. The anti-graft agency has also raided some BDCs in Kano, Lagos as the naira continues an unprecedented downward slide against the dollar.
With the naira’s constant struggle in the foreign exchange market, it is not uncommon for Nigerians to convert the naira to dollars at the parallel market and save in their domiciliary accounts, fuelling currency speculation as demands for dollars soar.
Some economists have since urged the CBN to bar individuals from operating domiciliary accounts in order to stabilise the naira and quash currency speculation.