Nigerians are reacting angrily after a House of Representatives member, Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to shut down domiciliary accounts bearing foreign currencies.
He advised that the domiciliary accounts be closed for 12 months as a measure to regulate the falling Naira.
Mr Obanikoro, who is currently serving the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency of Lagos State, made this suggestion on Tuesday on Twitter.
“I am not the CBN Governor but at this moment, I’m of the opinion that CBN should mandate that all dorm accounts be closed for the next 12 months. Let’s see the effect on the naira.
“After all, you can’t go to any of the Western world and open a foreign currency account,” he tweeted.
The Naira against dollar has continued to depreciate despite controversial policies enforced by Governor Godwin Emefiele of the CBN to stem its freefall.
The Naira is currently trading at about N580 to a dollar while the official price trades at N412 to a dollar per a directive by the CBN.
The statement of Mr Obanikoro drew criticism from online commentators and many of them used the opportunity to express their disappointment with the continuous depletion of Naira and the questionable policies responsible for the fall.
Here are some of the reactions:
- “This is a lawmaker in #Nigeria. At this point your FX is safer under your mattress. USD, GBP, EUR hardly lose value. Don’t let our country’s avaricious elite steal your hard earned FX while theirs is spirited away in foreign accounts.” Cheta Nwanze
- “Might it be the case this guy is: 1. an American, British citizen or has dual nationality; 2 has accounts abroad with his forex safely removed from the policy he advocates?” – Wole Runsewe
- “Why can’t you seek an advice before you propose such a wicked and evil proposal. Shame and sad.” – Tim Abubakar
- “Babajide Obanikoro @Jidekoro has never showed any element of brightness. Just look at his take on the fallen Naira. Thinking like a beer palour operator” – Olayinka Oluwakuse.
- “It’s exactly how Buhari’s border closure became a permanent policy based on “close it and let’s see the effect”. Then a whole industry of Buharideens will emerge to support, encourage and downplay the consequences.” – Mitchell Obama
- “Why and what makes his father entered into pre-bargaining with EFCC? He should have advised @officialEFCC to rearraign his father in order to rescue Naira from his father’s loots. Eti Osa Youths, my candid advice. The son of a Criminal must not represent you again come 2023” – Okon Raymond
- “Of course he can say this because he keeps his dollars in Dubai and under his bed.” – James Agada
- “This dude is also an American citizen.”
- “Very funny. What positive thing has banning things ever done to Nigeria? Check, all you people achieve with “ban this and that” is to create even more problems. You leave the main issues to attack effects. Once you ban all accounts, it will drive up exports and reduce imports.”
- “Stop lying. In the UK legal residents can open dollar & euro accounts. Maybe if you refund all those dollars your father allegedly siphoned through, Silva McNamara, the company where you and your brother Gbolahan, are directors, the naira would begin to see some tractions.”
- “These are ideas we get when we have airheads in power. You are not thinking of increased productivity to enhance balance of trade, not looking at creating enabling environment for FDIs, not looking at increase in exports for balance of trade, na blocking of Domain. O ma shey oo” – President Papi Chulo
- “If you need motivation for JAPA Here it is ? This is one of the people making laws for us” – King Abayomi
Following the backlash caused by his suggestion on Tuesday, Mr Obanikoro took to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning and expressed that he only meant to spark a debate with his tweet the previous day.
He added that he aims to sponsor a bill to the house and Nigerians should forward their ideas to an email address he posted.
He said, “Thank you all for your tweets, I’m fully aware that closing dorm acts isn’t the solution to the problem. Only solution is to look inwards and address certain key issues such local production, exportation and reduce importation, get our refineries working etc.
“My tweet was meant to spark a dialogue and conversation to help formulate a bill l’m working on. Have ideas, reach me on [email protected]”