Social Media Bits


Last week, the CBN placed charges on cash transactions, the senate insisted on buying SUVs, and the Federal Government budgeted N100 billion for livestock…

While the populace was still reeling from the announcement of new tax initiatives by the Federal Government, the Central Bank of Nigeria last week revealed that there will be charges on cash deposits and withdrawals exceeding N500,000 by individuals.
It caused uproar on social media, with Nigerians questioning how the government’s cashless policy was supposed to work if cash deposits are charged a “handling fee.”

This was a case where the importance of properly communicating policies to the public came to the fore. After widespread condemnation, the CBN explained why the policy isn’t such a bad idea. It only affects cash transactions; the apex bank is trying to dissuade cash and encourage electronic banking.

However, the point was made to the CBN that to incentivise cashless banking, the multiple charges on transacting electronically should be abolished; ATM charges, online transaction charges, account and card maintenance charges, and the like.

The government is obviously trying to raise money but how about cutting public spending, starting with the allowances of public officials? There has been a steady campaign against lawmakers and the perks they enjoy, which is at variance with current economic realities. The country and its people are poor but the people’s representatives are feeding fat.

It is an indication of how out of touch with the public mood the ruling class is, when a senator believes it’s an insult that the people he represents think it’s both unnecessary and insensitive that he and his colleagues each get luxury SUVs at a total cost of N5.5 billion.

Senate leader Yahaya Abdullahi was indignant when he said the burden senators bear is deserving of an SUV. He justified the expenditure by calling out ministers who he insinuated, were the ones really milking the country dry. And senators do more work, he said.

Still on the issue of public funds and expenditure, the FG has budgeted N100 billion for the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

Insisting that this is not a plan to replace the controversial RUGA settlement plan for cattle and their herders, chairman of the subcommittee on farmer-herders crisis, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi Sate, explained that states are free to use any animal of their choice in the implementation of the programme.

It is purely coincidence probably, that N100 billion was the amount demanded in May, by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria for the construction of cattle ranches.

Herders who have violently clashed with farmers, are certainly not the only ones being “appeased” by the government. Human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, accused the FG of negotiating with bandits and terrorists while clamping down on law-abiding citizens.

Last week, the Lagos office of online media house, Sahara Reporters, was besieged by security operatives. By the end of the week, its founder, Omoyele Sowore, who had been detained by the Department of State Services for planning protests against bad governance, was charged to court for treasonable felony, cyber-stalking President Muhammadu Buhari and other offences.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, may also be “under siege” depending on who you believe.

According to the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, the Office of the Vice President has been rendered useless, impotent and irrelevant. This followed reports that he had been ordered by President Buhari to seek approval from him before making decisions for agencies under his supervision.

A report by the Punch newspaper claims that “members of the cabal in the Presidency were bitter about the roles played by the Vice-President, when he stood in for Buhari, when the latter went on medical leave.”

The emergence of Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of the Federation, and the removal of Lawal Daura as the Director-General of the Department of State Services, were revealed as two of their grievances against Osinbajo. But according to Osinbajo’s camp, this is a storm in a teacup.