On Thursday, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila criticized the Federal Government’s decision to ignore the Supreme Court’s order regarding the nation’s naira design issue.
Keep in mind that the supreme court ordered the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes to remain legal tender last week while the case brought before it by some State governors was decided.
However, the supreme court reiterated its decision on Wednesday and postponed the case until February 22.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday in a national broadcast to reintroduce the old N200 note until April 10, 2023, after which the old N1000 and N500 will cease to be legal tender.
Even though the president’s directive was a step in the right direction, Gbajabiamila said in a statement on Thursday that the Federal Government could not afford to deal with situations that “suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law.”
“Premier Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, made the announcement this morning that he has authorized the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reintroduce the old N200 notes into circulation until the Bank is able to supply sufficient quantities of the new currency. I hope that this will help alleviate the suffering of Nigerians, as it is a step in the right direction.
“However, the decision still falls short of the Supreme Court’s order that the old currencies remain legal tender until a pending suit on the legality of the policy and its implementation brought by state governments is resolved.
“The Federal Government’s actions that suggest a willful disregard for the rule of law are not in our nation’s best interests. He stated, “It will be better for us to strictly adhere to the court’s order in this matter until the substantive suit is adjudicated.”
However, the Speaker urged citizens to “bear this moment with equanimity” and refrain from actions that could disrupt law and order.
“At this crucial time of national awakening and rebirth, we must collaborate to resist actions that exacerbate tensions and threaten our democracy for the benefit of our nation.
The speaker stated, “In all things, let the well-being of our fellow citizens and the survival of our nation be the primary in our hearts and guide all the decisions we make in this historic moment.”
Gbajabiamila continued, “citizens and visitors are experiencing grave and unnecessary hardship across our country,” as she lamented the state of the nation at the present time. In order to obtain stipends funded by their own funds, they queue for days and hours at banks and teller machines.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) erred in its implementation of the naira redesign policy, which led to this situation. It is also because Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank, decided not to hire a lawyer, to follow precedent, or to follow the decisions of higher courts.
He said that Section 20(3) of the CBN Act of 2007 gave the apex bank the legal authority to start and implement policies for the recall of Nigerian currency. He also said that, according to the law, the CBN had to meet three conditions before it could take back the Naira notes that were already in circulation.
“The first is that permission from the President must be obtained, and the second is that a reasonable amount of notice must be provided.” Thirdly, upon receipt, the recalled currency’s face value must be paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“It is evident that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has failed woefully in its statutory obligation to pay the face value of the recalled currency in the form that is useful to the citizens whose current suffering could have been avoided, although reasonable people may disagree as to whether sufficient notice was given for the implementation of this policy.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not sufficiently replace the old currency it pulled out of circulation across the country, which is why there is currently a shortage of cash. As a result, the country’s trade almost completely ceased as a result of the artificial scarcity that resulted from this. The already difficult electronic banking channels were further strained by this.
“E-banking platforms appear to have all but given up the ghost because neither businesses nor their customers have access to cash. The purpose of continuing on this erroneous path toward an ongoing economic catastrophe that the nation cannot afford is unclear. Long after this moment has passed, the ongoing devastation of livelihoods will undoubtedly have consequences.
“In the face of mounting evidence that the implementation of this policy has been a devastating failure, it is disheartening that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has resolutely refused to admit error and change course.
According to Gbajabiamila, “It is deeply troubling that neither the intervention of the National Council of State nor an order of the Supreme Court is sufficient to cause the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the decisions that have brought us to this completely avoidable moment.”