Connect with us

News

Nigeria: Becoming World’s First Cashless Country, Counteracting Corruption Crisis

Published

on

By Joel Popoola

A little over a year ago, I called on President Buhari to make Nigeria the first country on Earth to abolish cash.
Perhaps he was listening.

This week, the President announced that Nigeria is to become the first African nation to introduce a digital currency.

The so-called eNaira is designed to cut transaction costs and boost participation in the formal financial system, with the President stating in a televised address that its technology can also “increase Nigeria’s gross domestic product by $29 billion over the next 10 years”.

This is the Nigeria we want to see: Bold, creative, modern, capable of continental leadership – and driven by digital technology.

In many ways we are the ideal society to pilot this innovation. Within the next couple of years the vast majority of Nigerians will own a smartphone, and our nation is already home to Africa’s greatest and most important e-payment businesses – such as Flutterwave, Opay and Andela .

It has always been something of an amusement to me that while many Nigerians are used to receiving money electronically from relatives overseas our entire economy still expects them to queue up kiosks for cash when spending that money at home – when every transaction can be done electronically with the touch of a button!

Although old-fashioned currency will be with us for some time to come, there is no question cash’s days are numbered.

It’s not just out-of-date – in a time of COVID-19 and civil insecurity, it’s not even safe.

But the real benefits of a digital economic system could be the ones that benefit our democratic system.
Physical cash is dirty money in more ways than one indeed – corruption is a lot easier in any system that relies upon it.

Minimising the use of cash in public life could be an important step towards restoring Nigerian’s trust in the democratic process.

Transparency and accountability are practically impossible with anonymous and untraceable cash payments. And this has huge implications when it comes to making sure public money goes where it is supposed to go.

As an example of how this can work, look at India. When the Indian government began to make pension payments digitally instead of using cash, incidences of bribery halved. I can’t be the only Nigerian to long for that happening here.

This is another area where Nigeria is making huge progress. COVID-19 saw impressive efforts from government to make palliative payments electronically – and saw the government take impressive and important steps to enhance the transparency and governance of COVID-related spending, including the publication of procurement plans and notices for all emergency response activities including the names of companies awarded contracts and the owners of those companies.

Now we need our politicians to pursue transparency too.

At the digital democracy campaign I lead, we are determined to improve accountability and transparency in Nigerian politics by using technology.

We have created a free app called Rate Your Leader, which allows voters to contact directly with their local elected representatives. The Rate Your Leader app helps politicians engage directly with the people who elected them, building relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

Rate Your Leader also helps local leaders explain and justify every decision they make and every penny they spend – making them truly accountable to the people they serve.

And if their voters don’t like the answers they get, they can rate their politicians appropriately for everyone to see.
In 2021, we live our lives digitally. We shop, socialise, learn, work and even date there. So why does out economic system still expect us to make transactions the same way as our ancient ancestors?

At our campaign, our message is clear: Our politics and our political institutions need to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital age to become more accessible, transparent and responsive – and to make themselves relevant to the people they serve.

Too much of our public payment, welfare and public transport infrastructure remains entirely cash-based. This has to change. But the creation of the eNaira is a great step towards a cashless Nigeria – and an international achievement we can all be proud of.

This would require significant government commitment and investment. But the government could start tomorrow by aiming to making all government payments – such as Conditional Cash Transfer – digital by default.
Our country is becoming digital. Our currency cannot remain analogue.

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian technology entrepreneur, digital democracy campaigner and is the creator of the Rate Your Leader app. He can be reached via @JOPopoola

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

NSCDC Partners NECO for Hitch Free Exams

Published

on

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the National Examination Council (NECO) to ensure a peaceful and hitch-free examination.

The process of the memorandum signing was contained in a statement signed by the Corps’ Director of Public Relations, DCC Olusola Odumosu, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP).

The noted that the Commandant General of NSCDC, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, while receiving NECO Registrar, Professor Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi at the Corps National Headquarters, said that the visit was prompt, timely and very germaine to schools’ security which encompasses that all measures be taken to combat threats in our educational environment.

He congratulated the Commandant General for his well deserved appointment and commended the Corps for its partnership over the years which he hopes to sustain in his own tenure.

The Registrar solicited for more support and cooperation in ensuring that the NECO examination is conducted in a peaceful, secured and serene atmosphere, reiterating that, NECO is like a threshold for children’s progress and national development.

According to him, the examination conducted at secondary schools terminal level helps students to become professionals that will have the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.

He craved the support of the Corps to safeguard materials for the examination and to also assist in conducting the test in a very secure and safe manner.

Prof Wushishi commended officers and men of the Corps for contributing to safety and smooth conduct of previous examinations and expressed hope that this year’s exercise will not be different.

“We take our activities seriously, ensure students during examinations are protected jealously more than legal tender which is the currency.

“We are here to seek your assistance and sign a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for you to participate fully as you used to for a peaceful and hitch free examination.

“We felt it is important to come to you as our partner over the years to safeguard materials and also assist us to conduct examination in a very secure atmosphere across the country,” Prof Wushishi said.

The Commandant General on his part welcomed the delegates and assured them of the Corps’ readiness to ensure a safe examination environment for students.

 

He said that, in an attempt to ensure schools are adequately protected, NSCDC special female squad was established to ensure security across schools in the country.

He stated that the Corps had always ensured safety and protection of examination materials, staff and students and will not hesitate in ensuring that this year’s exercise is a huge success.

Audi appreciated NECO for it’s educational standards in ensuring that adequate knowledge is being impacted into Nigerian students to meet up with international education best practices.

Continue Reading

News

PDP Chairman Not Suspended, Says Ayu’s Aide

Published

on

The Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorchia Ayu, Simon Imobo-Tswam, has described as false a report stating that his principal had been suspended from the position.

According to the report, the suspension followed an emergency meeting of the PDP National Working Committee.

The report claimed the Deputy National Chairman (North), Amb. Umar Damagun, had been appointed as National Chairman of the PDP, in an acting capacity.

Reacting, Imobo-Tswam said, “Even though we do not wish to dignify falsehood with a response, an official reaction is necessary in order to stem the tide of misinformation.”

This was contained in a statement, titled, ‘Ayu still PDP National Chairman,’ made available to newsmen on Wednesday.

It read in part, “Dr Iyorchia Ayu, the PDP National Chairman remains the PDP National Chairman.

“Dr Ayu took a well-deserved, two-week leave on 21st June 2022. He will be back next week to resume duties, specifically on July 6, 2022.

“A stickler for due process, Dr Ayu formally handed over to the Deputy National Chairman (North), Amb. Umar Damagun, and the Deputy National Chairman has held forth admirably since that day.

“It was in that acting capacity that he (Damagun) today, presided over the inauguration of the Osun State Gubernatorial Campaign Council, headed by the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, H.E. Douye Diri

“If not that the authors of the mischievous and baseless Facebook posts were out to serve nefarious interests, they would have heard when the acting national chairman, Amb. Damagun, said during the ceremony today: “On behalf of my able National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, I hereby inaugurate you.”

“The general public is, therefore, advised to ignore the mischievous social media publications as they are purely the work of mischief makers and idle minds.”

The Punch

Continue Reading

News

Corruption Allegations: Senate Orders Fresh Probe of Ex-CJN

Published

on

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, on Tuesday, received a fresh order to probe the erstwhile Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammed over the allegations of corruption raised against him by some justices of the Supreme Court.

14 Justices of the Supreme Court had recently leveled allegations of corruption against Tanko Mohammed, which the ex-CJN denied.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has then mandated the Committee led by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele to probe the allegations leveled against the ex-CJN and the crisis presently rocking the judiciary.

Lawan said, “ The chamber mandates the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to go ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a lasting solution to the matter by interacting with relevant stakeholders to address the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.

The Senate “Mandate the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to interface with the relevant stakeholders in the three Arms of Government as well as at the Bar and on the Bench to collate aggregate views and positions on the short term, medium term and long term measures needed to decisively address the crisis facing the Judiciary, including the immediate fiscal intervention as well as long term and sustainable budgetary allocations, required for the optimal performance of the Judiciary, in line with global best practices; and urge the Senate to wish the Hon. Chief Justice well, following many years of meritorious service to the nation and to pray for his good health.”

The Senate noted that on Tuesday, June 21, 2022,  Lawan drew the attention of the Senate to the media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, whereby Justices of the Court, through a petition signed by majority of them, raised issues bothering on deplorable welfare conditions and difficult working environment for the Justices, which was addressed to the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council.

He also noted that the President of the Senate emphasised the need for the Senate to urgently step into the matter as any issue that concerns the Judiciary is an issue of urgent national importance that the Senate could not afford to sit idly by and allow to spiral out of control.

Accordingly, the President of the Senate directed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to get involved in the matter with a view to unravelling the root cause of the recent development in the Judiciary and how best the Senate can intervene in order to address the concerns raised by the Justices

Lawan noted that Justices were taciturn and reticent in handling issues outside their judicial domain but resorting to such measures in order to protect the Judiciary, required the Senate to rise up to the occasion to ensure that their demands were addressed.

The committee chairman, Senator Bamidele said his team was taking steps to look into the matter as directed by the President of the Senate by making arrangements to interface with relevant stakeholders both at the Bar and on the Bench.

Bamidele said, “The poor welfare of Judicial Officers would affect the delivery of the judiciary in respect of their output and will prevent them from performing optimally.

“The sacred image of the Judiciary, which is the epicentre of the temple of justice should be preserved by the Senate through appropriate legislative measures in order to safeguard this highly revered institution and prevent it from being ridiculed.”

Bamidele added that it is a regret that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed on Sunday,  June 27, 2022, voluntarily resigned his appointment on grounds of ill-health, leaving the most senior Justice to act as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. However, this development would not prevent the Committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.

He stated, “Though Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed has stepped down as CJN, most of the issues raised by the Justices of the Supreme Court and other stakeholders within the Judiciary, still remain and need to be addressed urgently to prevent an eventual shutdown of the Judiciary.”

The Punch

Continue Reading