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Buhari Nominates Media Aide Lauretta Onochie As NDDC Chairman, Unveils New Naira Notes

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed his aide on new media, Lauretta Onochie, as the substantive chairman of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

This is just as President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled the new Naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, an event that took place just before the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), meeting, which he presided.

Buhari, in a letter nominating Onochie which was addressed to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, also announced the nomination of 15 others as NDDC board members.

The letter, which was read at Wednesday plenary, requested the Senate confirm the nominees.

Buhari had, in October 2020, nominated Onochie as National Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to represent Delta State.

Her nomination was greeted with massive outrage, with many opposition politicians and civil society groups calling for her rejection on the grounds that she was too partisan to serve in a sensitive institution like INEC.

She was also accused of being a card-carrying member of All Progressives Congress, a claim she denied three times during her screening.

The Senate rejected her nomination based on federal character principle.

The chairman of the screening panel, Senator Kabiru Gaya said there was currently a serving commissioner of INEC from Delta State, where Onochie hails from, and confirming her appointment would violate constitutional provision.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the brief ceremony, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele said that in line with the global practice, the naira was supposed to be redesigned and re-issued between five and eight years.

He regretted that in Nigeria, the naira has not been redesigned for about 19 years now because of lack of political will from the previous leaders.

According to him, “In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and reissue the naira notes have been resisred. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has the courage to do so.”

Emefiele said it was the mandate of the CBN, to redesign and reissue the notes, assuring that henceforth, the exercise would take place after five to eight years.

“After today, the CBN will begin to redesign and reissue the naira for every five to eight years,” he said.

The CBN governor said that Nigeria has gone cashless and that security agencies would monitor people making withdrawal at the counter to know how much withdrawn and also monitor the usage of the money.

He said there was no need to insinuate that the policy was targeted at anyone.

Emefiele said that the CBN was determined in ensuring that the provision of the law on volume of money one should carry is followed.

“The world has moved to cashless economy and the CBN has moved to cashless economy. We will restrain the volume of cash someone will withdraw over the counter. We will follow up with the person’s data to know the reason for such withdrawal,” he said.

For those calling for extension of time for the usage of the old notes, the CBN boss said, “we will not go with people that want extension of time. From today, this currency that was re-issued will become a legal tender.”

He said there is no local government area in the country where there is no bank agent, adding that there is over one million point across the country that people should go and deposit the old notes.

He also assured that the new notes cannot be counterfeited because of the features in them.

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