Speaker Gbajabiamila faults FGs disregard for Supreme Court order on the issue of currency swap.
Speaker of the House of Representative,Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has faulted the Federal Government's disregard for Supreme Court order on the issue of currency swap, saying the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, implementation of policy is flawed.
Gbajabiamila in a press release signed by the Speaker's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity,Lanre Lasisi ,said the Apex Court had last week given an order for the old 1,000, 500 and 200 Naira notes to remain legal tender pending the determination of a case brought before it by some State Governors and had on Wednesday reiterated its order and adjourned the matter to February 22.
According to the Speaker, on Thursday morning, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast, said he had instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reintroduce the old 200 note until April 10, 2023, while the old 1,000 and 500 have stopped being legal tender.
In the press release, Gbajabiamila, said though the president's directive was a step in the right direction, the Federal Government could not afford situations that "suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law as the decision still falls short of the order of the Supreme Court that the old currencies remain legal tender pending the adjudication of a pending suit brought by state governments on the legality of the policy and its implementation,adding that it is not to the benefit of the country for the Federal Government to act in ways that suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law.
He was of the view that, it will be better to strictly adhere to the court’s order in this matter pending the adjudication of the substantive suit.
Amidst the hardship Nigerians face, Gbajabiamila urged the citizens to bear this moment with equanimity for the sake of our country.
He also advised Nigerians to work together to resist actions that escalate tensions and endanger the Country's democracy at this crucial moment of national awakening and rebirth,urging that the well-being of our fellow citizens and the survival of our nation be foremost in our hearts and guide all the decisions we make in this historic moment.
The Speaker who bemoaning the current situation in the country, said, citizens and visitors are experiencing grave and unnecessary hardship across our country.
They spend hours and days queuing at banks and teller machines to receive stipends of their own money to afford life’s necessities.
He said the situation is a consequence of the flawed implementation of the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as the result of decisions made by the Central Bank’s Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to refuse counsel, be guided by precedent or abide by the decisions of superior courts.
He said Section 20(3) of the CBN Act, 2007 provides the statutory authority for the apex bank to initiate and implement policies for the recall of Nigerian currency.
He said based on the provisions of the law, there are three conditions precedent for the CBN to recall existing Naira notes.
The first is that the permission of the President must be obtained, and the second is that reasonable notice shall be given. The third is that the Central Bank of Nigeria shall pay the face value of the recalled currency upon receipt.
Gbajabiamila who also said whereas reasonable people may disagree as to whether sufficient notice was given for the implementation of this policy, further noted that 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.
According him,the current scarcity of cash is happening because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not sufficiently replace the old currency it pulled out of circulation across the country, leading to the creation of an artificial scarcity that put significant additional pressure on the already epileptic electronic banking channels, resulting in a near-complete collapse of trade in the country.
He said is disheartening that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has resolutely refused to admit error and change course in the face of mounting evidence that the implementation of this policy has been a devastating failure,adding that 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 entirely avoidable moment.