Afe Babalola charges FG, CBN on cash crunch in banks

Founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Afe Babalola (SAN), yesterday, asked the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to urgently address the cash crunch being experienced by customers of commercial banks.

He expressed concerns that if not checked, the development, which became rampant in recent times, could have negative consequences that might be worse than the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The senior lawyer lamented that due to the development, most financial institutions turned customers back, while those who were allowed into banking halls, went home disappointed.

Babalola said customers could not withdraw cash from the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the university, the bank branches in ABUAD also had no cash to pay customers, adding: “The saving grace was that the students, who rely on ATMs for their transactions, were on holiday.”

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to critically review the situation, saying, if it is not effectively tackled, it could lead to serious hunger which could dovetail into a high mortality rate, increased crime and insecurity.

The legal luminary, who stated this in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, said: “Nigeria used to be a developing country, but in the last few years, what we have experienced is backward development.

“There was a time when our economy was basically through trade by barter. Gradually, traders exchanged goods for cash. Now, most Nigerians, including market women, transporters, hawkers, plumbers, roadside mechanics and hairdressers earn their living from daily sales.

“In the absence of sales through cash, these Nigerians suffer more than the few wealthy Nigerians due to the cash crunch induced by the CBN and commercial banks.”

He stressed that a man without cash would certainly go without food and when he becomes hungry, he becomes an angry man and an angry man becomes violent, stating: “A violent man can kill, behave irrationally and even commit suicide.”

The administrator argued that COVID-19 was regarded as a dangerous and a dreaded epidemic, which kills the infected, noting: “but cash crunch kills faster than COVID-19 and certainly will kill more people than the pandemic.

He added: “According to a study by Johns Hopkins, hunger kills 11 people every minute, compared to seven COVID-19 deaths.

“Hungry families also resort to desperate measures such as sale of babies, child marriages, banditry and kidnapping just to secure food for their dependants.”

The ABUAD founder also cited President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who said: “Hunger is actually the worst weapon of mass destruction, as it claims millions of victims yearly.”


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