CBN: OccupyCBN Protesters Are Blackmailers

Obinna Chima

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday described a group known as Wailing Wailers as “paid hirelings,” saying they are a bunch of “blackmailers fighting for the interest of those who want to destroy the Nigerian economy.”

The central bank in a statement last night, said the group which goes by the tag OccupyCBN had threatened to protest efforts of the CBN to conserve scarce foreign exchange.

In a statement, the CBN Ag. Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor described them “as paid agent of some selfish interest groups and enemies of the Nigerian economy.”
He said further that “the allegations are totally false and fabricated.”
According to him, there is no iota of truth to the allegations of forex manipulation and round-tripping levelled against the CBN by the group.

Okorafor said that the CBN did not allocate or sell any $12 million to anybody. He challenged the group to show proof, stating that such thing was not possible under the new forex system. He stated that “these paid agents of selfish interests and the enemies of the Nigerian economy will fail in their bid to distract the CBN and the Federal Government from their focus on the diversification of the Nigerian economy away from import and crude oil dependency.”

The CBN spokesman pointed out that “some powerful interests want the CBN and government to reverse the policy on conservation of forex and sabotage the ongoing efforts to wean Nigerians from senseless importation”.

He opined that they want to create markets for importers to the overall detriment of the Nigerian economy.
He went further to state that no amount of blackmail will make the CBN allow a practice whereby our farmers and industrialists who have invested heavily and employed our youths in the production of Nigerian made rice, fish, industrial starch, palm produce, wheat, tooth pick, wines, etc, would be made to close their farms and factories again.

He noted that “what these charlatans and hirelings want are basically two-fold; first, they want the CBN to give out the nation’s scarce foreign exchange to their sponsors to import all manner of foreign goods and dump them on our markets, thereby frustrating the good work our own farmers and manufacturers have begun.

“Second, they want the CBN to fold its arms and allow currency speculators to drive the naira down to a level at which it will be easy for their paymasters to buy up and take control of the Nigerian economy. They have even gone to the extent of making false allegations that some banks are having trouble just to trigger panic in the financial system. These will not happen,” he said.

According to Okorafor, “it will be economically suicidal for the CBN to allocate our scarce forex to those who will engage in another escapade in senseless importation, which will again discourage our local producers who have borrowed money to engage in agriculture and local manufacturing.”

He noted that “it will be dangerous to our peasants in the rural areas and indeed to masses of Nigerian workers who are on fixed incomes for the CBN to allow speculators to drive the value of the naira to any level just for the selfish gains of the sponsors of these arrangee protests.”

“We will not succumb to blackmail”, he said.
On the issue of the CBN funding the federal government budget, Okorafor said that this had been long addressed, with clear figures which have been widely publicised.
He reinstated that the role of the CBN as banker to the federal government was to do exactly what had been done and it is within the limits specified by law. He queried if the so-called group would want the CBN to withhold advances so that the government collapses?

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