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NAIRA REDESIGN: ISWAP bans use of Nigerian currency in Lake Chad Basin, resorts to CFA



The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) has banned traders, farmers and fishermen in the Lake Chad Basin from using the Nigerian naira in transacting businesses, and rather imposed the West African CFA Franc to replace the naira as currency of trade in the area.

According to a report on Sunday by a counter-insurgency expert and security analyst in the region, Zagazola Makama, the move by the terror group came following an announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

In the report, Makama said ISWAP group has also ordered that monthly levies imposed on farmers and others in the region be paid in CFA Franc.

“The move (naira redesign) by the government has thrown the ISWAP population in the Tumbus of the Lake Chad and away from bank branches into confusion as they will find it extremely difficult to change their money into the new currency notes,” Makama wrote.

“The terrorists had also banned Nigerian fishermen, herdsmen and farmers from sneaking into the Lake Chad through Marte, Abadam, and Gamborun Ngala to prevent the naira from reaching into the camps of the terrorists in the Lake Chad.

Read also:Top ISWAP commanders, Ali Kwaya, Mainoka, killed in military bombing of Lake Chad area

“Ibn Umar and Malam Ba’ana, the ISWAP militant commanders in charge of taxes and levies, who imposed the ban, said the people were only allowed to come through safe routes established by the terror group through Bulgaram, Cikka, Guma, Maltam, Doron Liman and Ramin Dorina, villages in Cameroon Republic.

“In exchange, ISWAP collects 1,500 West African CFA Franc, monthly taxes from the people who appear willing to pay. They have also secured trade routes for merchants to enable them access foodstuffs, weapons, fuel and other logistics,” he wrote.

This revelation goes to confirm fears raised by popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi shortly after the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the announcement that the new redesigned notes would be released for public use on December 15, 2022, while the old ones would cease to be legal tenders by January 31, 2023.

While reacting to the announcement, Gumi had expressed fears that bandits and terrorists would also resort to collecting ransom in foreign currencies.

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