Many Nigerians below the age of 40 do not have the exact knowledge of what happened between 1983-1985 when Buhari was the head of the state, however, those who experienced it told us but emotions did not allow us to listen and take their advice.
When Buhari came on board in 1983, he changed Nigeria’s currency, an action he took as an anti-corruption fight against the Shagari regime. And, that was to ensure those who stole under the Shagari regime do not use and benefit from their loot.
As a result of that action, many Nigerians lost a huge amount of money at the defunct Africa Continental Bank (ACB), he gave a very short timeframe to Nigerians to change money in their bank, many trooped into the banking hall, few persons succeeded and many lost their money.
Many Nigerians who witnessed the 1985 experience, continue to narrate their experience of how Buhari policy, destroyed the economy, exposed citizens to poverty and hunger.
“In 1985 when I gave birth to my second child, I lost N1,800 and my wife lost N820 to ACB-Bank because Buhari changed Nigeria currency, that act alone made Nigerians suffer”, Mr. Eze Hilary said.
That same year 1985, in Benue state and other parts of Nigeria, the huger was so acute and terrible that you cannot find mango fruit anywhere; people were so hungry that they were eating unripe mangoes.
The suffering Nigerians went through under the Buhari regime was the fundamental reason for the military coup that brought in BABANGIDA in1985, an action the military said was carried to save Nigerians.
In 1986, because of how badly the Buhari regime had destroyed the economy, BABANGIDA had no option but opted for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, which began Nigeria’s currency devaluation. And, till this moment, Nigeria has not recovered from the IMF loan.
In 2015 when Buhari came back, he wanted to do two things similar to the 1985 experience, (1) he ordered that withdrawing foreign currency from the bank is no longer allowed (2) no Nigerian will be allowed to use the credit card anymore.
This singular move, made Nigerians lose millions of Naira as investors left, few months Buhari took over as the Nigerian president, the country capital market collapsed, unemployment began to increase and prices of commodity soar.
Today, there is an acute food shortage; Nigerians cannot afford food because farmers have been chased out of their farms by herdsmen, kidnappers, and Boko Haram.
And, even as Nigerians suffer, Buhari has since refused to lift the ban on the importation food items that the country does not have the moment while citizens’ predicaments become more dire and complicated.
For those who know Buhari very well, they know, you can only seek and pray for God’s mercy to survive his regime.
Audu Liberty Oseni,
Coordinator, Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation