There is suffering in the land
By Alex Abutu
Last week, news filtered in from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital that a journalist collapsed and died while trekking to work as a result of the cashless crunch caused by the summersaulting policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria vis-avis the ruling of the Supreme Court.
The journalist is not the only victim of the situation as many other numerous stories are emanating from all over the country on how citizens are dying as a result of their inability to access their own saved money in banks to either buy or pay for food and Medicare.
One of such touching stories came in from Kano where a man had gone to a woman selling food items to request for rice, beans, and others on the ground that he would send the amount to the woman via bank transfer because of the absence of cash. He pleaded with the woman that he had not eaten for two days. But the woman refused because according to her all those buying items from her shop are paying via transfer and she has not gotten any alert to show her the money is entering her account.
The man decided to sit by the woman’s shop, I am sure, because he did not have the strength to even go back home and wait thinking the woman might change her mind. When a good Samaritan appeared on the scene and offered help, the shop owner tried to wake the man thought to be sleeping and inform him that someone had bought things for him. The man had already passed on.
This is the disturbing situation we found ourselves as a people and the giant of Africa, the biggest economy on the continent. Where else can what is happening in Nigeria happen and the people remain as calm as we have seen this last four months?
You have your money which you diligently work for and deposited with your own hands in the bank but you cannot withdraw what you like as when you want. You have to queue all day to be given a miserable N3000 or be on the ATM all day and the machine just dispense N2000 to you. Haba.
In Sokoto, people were sleeping in front of the banks in the open with the hope that they can be among the first set to be in line to get something the next day. But what will they get… just N3000.
In the last few days, some bank started dispensing the old currency notes which were hitherto outlawed but ironically, the same bank who dispense would not accept it from you. What kind of country is this?
Our governors who so loved us and went to the Supreme Court to challenge the CBN for drastically changing the currency without adequate notice have all gone to sleep and play politics leaving stranded citizens at the bus stop.
The governors made elaborate broadcast in their various states on why the people should not worry and that things will return to normal, none of the governors was large hearted enough to even distribute food stuff to the suffering masses as a way of cushioning the impact of the monetary policy that had crippled the economy and people’s livelihood.
What a better time to share rice, beans, maize and even yams to the people. Must it be when you are looking for our votes? What is governance? Do we even know what being a leader means?
Did even the religious leaders help matters? Did religious leaders ask for contribution of food items from the well to do to share for the less privileged? I didn’t hear of any church or Mosque sharing food items to the people, yet the people were religious enough to still come to the house of God every other day hoping that their prayers for food will be answered.
What kind of country or people are we. The highest court in the land gave a judgement that takes immediate effect but no, that judgement is not compliable with until President Buhari says so. Is it how it is in other countries? Where is the practice of the separation of powers? Or in Nigeria there is only one almighty power resting with the President who must say before it can be?
Why will any right-thinking Nigeria bother to go to court to seek redress? In a country where even the court does not obey its own judgement nor do government and the big and mighty.
This could be the reason many Nigerians are crying for Mr. Peter Obi and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Labour Party and PDP presidential candidates in the just-concluded election who have stated their desire to go to court to seek redress from what they called irregularities in the Presidential election. Which court will give them justice and who will enforce that justice?
Finally, let me genuinely sympathies with the family of Baba Bintin, the Ibadan-based radio presenter who died while trekking to the office to perform his legitimate duties because he couldn’t access his money in the bank and many other victims that paid the ultimate price for the mess, we found ourselves. May God forgive all your shortcomings and grant you all eternal rest.