Tinubu, Ribadu And The War Against Economic Saboteurs, By Gidado Ibrahim

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The Renewed Hope government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu got one thing straight up from the start. It was either it is in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians or it should give way. Judging by the concatenation of policy moves by this government, it is very clear that the Tinubu administration is a radical departure from the usual “Rankedede” approach to managing government policies. The last line was “there’s no sacred cow.” No matter whose ox is gored, the law must take its cause.
Beginning with the removal of fuel subsidy to forex policy, the Renewed Hope team unmistakably demonstrated courage, unbendable will and resilience.

Such pragmatic moves climaxed in the arrest of two Binance crypto exchange platform executives. Permit me to recall the startling revelation by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, that Binance has become Nigeria’s nightmare. The platform became a channel through which almost 26 billion dollars of the Nigerian scarce resources is siphoned abroad. Morse still is the fact that the platform was a ready tool for dubious forex speculators who severely sabotaged the Nigerian Naira.

Given the grevious damage Binance was doing to Nigeria, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, swiftly swung into action to save Nigeria and the naira. This bold action has led to other startling discoveries. It has now become a source of worry when some people are calling for Ribadu’s head for the escape of one of the arrested Directors of Binance.

It is said that the best way to count your teeth is by using your tongue. Even if people must spew mischief at all, they must be reasonable about it. How conceivable it is that the NSA, whose hi-tech Intelligence gathering acumen exposed Binance’s can of worm, which led to the disruption of their nefarious and criminal activities, would turn around to sabotage his own office by conniving to release Binance director?

This is abysmally incomprehensible and illogical. Let’s leave politics at the level of fair debates. It is dangerous to play politics with everything. It is a huge disincentive and disservice to excellence if we continue to carpet the achievements of our public office holders. Where they have done well, we must pat them on the back, while finding the courage to constructively criticise them if they go wrong.

Most annoying are those peddling bribery card in the Binance director. We all cannot suffer collective amnesia. President Tinubu didn’t just stray or slumber to appoint Mallam Ribadu to the exalted office of the NSA. Ribadu came into government with heavy dose of credibility and goodwill. We know his antecedents.

Just like the demon-possessed man asked the seven sons of Jesse, Tinubu we know. Ribadu we know. Who are these detractors? What is speaking for them? What is their credentials? For the sake of posterity or those mischievously pretending to have forgotten Ribadu’s strength of character, let me remind them of what defines the NSA.

Desperate to halt a probe into his finances, a Nigerian governor, James Ibori of Delta State, tried to bribe the then anti-corruption boss in 2007 with $15 million in cash in a bag so heavy one man alone could not lift it. Ribadu pretended to take the bribe because he wanted the cash as evidence to use against Ibori in a prosecution, but rather than keep the money for himself he had it taken straight to the Central Bank of Nigeria to be kept safe in a vault.

Ribadu, who was chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from April 2003 to December 2007, gave evidence at a confiscation hearing in London, whose prosecutors were seeking court orders to have Ibori’s assets seized.

Because of his uncompromising stands on corruption, several assassination attempts were made on Ribadu. He was blackmailed and mistreated because of the depth of conviction. Against this backdrop, the NSA is a frontline Nigerian who is blameless, eminently qualified to fight crimes.

Since the NSA’s office set up a task team involving the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Customs Service, and the NFIU are working to arrest currency speculators and address challenges impacting the nation’s economic stability.

Evidence, it is said, is the end of argument. We are living witness to the rebounding Naira, since NSA/CBN crackdown on the dubious activities of Binance.

The Nigerian currency Naira appreciated significantly against the US dollar throughout March 2024, marking a major turnaround for Nigeria’s exchange rate policy. Official figures indicate that the Naira closed the month at N1309/$1 on the last trading day, up from N1595.11/$1 at the end of February 2024.

This 21.8% gain points to the success of several forex policies, strategies and interventions by the CBN, all aimed at stabilizing and strengthening the national currency.

In the parallel market, the Naira saw an even more pronounced recovery. The exchange rate improved from N1600/$1 in February to N1250/$1 in March, representing a 28% gain in one month, highlighting the effectiveness of the measures taken to bridge the gap between the official and unofficial currency markets.

The gains in the official and parallel market are the largest seen in over five years. Before now, the exchange rate was fixed at about N450/$1 for almost two years and around N380/$1 between 2020 and early 2021.

This credit goes to the NSA, who defied immense pressure to dare the undesirable elements working against our economy. The new Sheriff at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Cardoso, deserves bumper accolades for the transparency and courage he has introduced into the operation at the CBN. In his pursuit of excellence, reforms and openess, he has continued to update Nigerians at every step of the way and in the process opened cans of worm.

For instance, in a startling revelation, the CBN governor revealed that law enforcement agencies are investigating foreign exchange forwards valued at approximately $2.4 billion. This disclosure emerged after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, March 26. The CBN governor shed light on the meticulous forensic audit conducted on these transactions, uncovering numerous discrepancies and rendering them invalid.

The CBN, upon settling certain tranches of FX backlog, encountered transactions marred by issues concerning their authenticity. Consequently, Deloitte management consultants were engaged to conduct a comprehensive forensic analysis spanning several months to scrutinize the legitimacy of these forward-contracted transactions.

During the audit process, it was established that several transactions failed to meet the criteria for validation. Instances were found where allocations worth millions of dollars were disbursed without corresponding requests, and some transactions lacked proper documentation or were completely illegal.

Needless to remind Nigerians that interagency synergy is beginning to pay off. The dollar is crashing like pack of cards. And criminal elements who are aiding and abating the sabotage of the Nigerian Economy are being made to face the law. It is only a matter of time for the Renewed Hope Government to liberate Nigeria and Nigerians from the shackles of underdevelopment and poverty.

Last week the Nigerian security forces did a great job by promptly acting on intelligence to abort bandit’s attack, leading to the killing of a notorious bandits kingpin, Dogo Gide, and host of many others.

During the ongoing Ramadan, food items were delivered across the country to some leaders but it was only Imam Daurawa who came out boldly to acknowledge that he received food items from the office of the NSA, which he said he shared to the needy. All other leaders and clerics kept quiet as if nothing happened because we are not ready to celebrate the kind of leadership we are witnessing under the Renewed Hope administration.

In conclusion, let me implore Nigerians to come out and support the prosecution of economic saboteurs, as they face the full wrath of law, like the Binance escapist who is being used to give the intelligence community a bad name just to tarnish the reputation of the NSA and President Tinubu. The good news is that these enemies of Nigeria shall be put to shame; their international propagandists and financiers will be disgraced and by the power of Almighty.

With the blessings of these great month of Ramadan, the good Friday, and Easter celebrations, with all the prayers in the season, Nigeria will survive and we, the citizens, will continue to live in peace and harmony!


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