Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) urges Reps Committee to articulate better ways of addressing issues of concerns, sets up own Committee to assist the Reps panel to meet its mandate.
“…such policies if not well thought out will affect some certain things, because some of our soldiers are deployed in places where they cannot actually access digital means of paying whatever daily subsistence.”
– Rear Admiral Abubakar Mustapha, Director ONSA
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, has stated that the ongoing cashless policy was affecting military operations in some areas, stressing that some soldiers on the battle front were having financial challenges.
Monguno, represented by Rear Admiral Abubakar Mustapha, Director-in-charge of Elections and Other Security Exigencies in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), disclosed this on Thursday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the new cash policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the National Assembly.
The NSA who made this known before the meeting went into closed door session, appealed to the legislature to evolve practicable solutions to the attendant economic crisis arising from the scarcity of the redesigned naira notes.
“I am the Director at the office of the NSA. My mandate in the office actually is Defence Affairs. We actually chair the secretariat that conducts the General Security Appraisal Committee which specifically focuses on elections and other security situations that might come up from time to time. I want to also apologise on behalf of my boss who is unavoidably absent.
He left the country yesterday on a very special meeting and because he holds this committee in very high esteem, he called and directed that I represent him. So, there is no written mandate. It was a verbal instruction that was given to me to attend this committee because he said somebody must attend. He understands the severity of the situation in the country and that is why he said someone must attend.
Because of the sensitivity of some of the information that will come bothering security, there are things you cannot say in the media. But that being said, globally, military operations even in the first world countries, such policies if not well thought out will affect some certain things because some of our soldiers are deployed in places where they cannot actually access digital means of paying whatever daily subsistence.
One of the main issues that the NSA has been talking about, is that this Committee sits down and articulate better ways of addressing these issues and he has directed a Committee in his office which I am part of, to write out his position to assist the Committee to meet its mandate. On a more detailed level, I will be able to talk to the Committee when the press leaves,” he said.
On his part, Majority Leader of the House and Chairman of the Committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, stated that the meeting was in line with the mandate given to them by the House to interface with relevant agencies on the naira redesign.
Doguwa said the CBN policy was unpopular and had subjected Nigerians to untold hardships, adding that it was a threat to the general elections. He also noted that the Committee will still invite the NSA if the Committee has cause to clarify the issues of concern and respond to a few other questions that his representative might not have addressed.
“For the records, this is a continuation of our duties and obligations as an Adhoc Committee of the House of Representatives in the specified matter of redesigned naira notes and swap policy of the federal government.
I believe members would recall that on the last day of our sitting before we went for break, on the submission of our report, the House through the Speaker gave this committee an extended mandate to continue to follow up this matter so as to see to the implementation of this very important policy effective.
We are therefore mandated to continue to follow up not only with the CBN as an agency or as a major regulator of our financial system but to follow up with all other relevant agencies that may have fallen in one way or the other important in the discussions before us. It is on that note that the Committee sat yesterday and we decided that we need to interface with some very relevant agencies that would have a very significant role to play in the implementation of this very important policy.”
“The policy is undoubtedly very unpopular among the people. It has created a lot of hardships among our people and in the economy. The policy has posed a lot of threat to our security and of course, the upcoming general election coming in the next few days.
And it is on that ground that we have decided to invite the Ministry of Finance, being the Ministry that controls the fiscal policy of the government. We also found it fit to invite the Director of Currency Operations, who of course, is under the Ministry of Finance and the Printing and Minting Company. The Committee also decided to invite the Chief Executive of the Printing and Minting Company, the NSA, and of course, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This we thought could provide an insight for the Committee to come up with issues and find out some facts as to how we move ahead while we handle this assignment. The overall interest, like I have always said, is for us to come up with facts that will ultimately guide the House and through the Speaker, we take the necessary actions,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Committee Chair also vowed to take action against invitees who would not appear before the committee on Friday.
“I think it is fair to make it known to members that we have received communication from the Ministry of Finance apologising that they cannot make it today, but they would be before the Committee any other time they are given. We have also received communication from the Printing and Minting company through the MD who has also promised to make it unfailingly 11am tomorrow,” he said.
We gave the NSA Office, the leverage to be heard in executive. It’s because basically, some of the questions we asked, answers are expected from him, were classified questions or classified responses. On that note I will like to say to the public, yes, we have interfaced with the Office of the NSA with regards to the mandate of the committee. And like I said, we took in confidence some of the responses that he gave, which of course will be very useful to the Committee and definitely will guide the Committee when it comes to writing the report that we will lay on the floor of the House of Representatives.
By and large, I think it is only fair to say, whatever the case may be, that the position of the Committee has not changed even with the interface we had with the NSA, that the policy is unpopular, that the policy was untimely, the policy did not take the benefit of wider consultations from various sectors and agencies of government that were relevant with the subject matter. Of course, we will continue to engage with them. Perhaps, we will call the Central Bank Governor once again to address this Committee based on other points and facts we have extracted from the NSA,” he said.