Falana: Nigerians were not given much encouragement by Buhari’s speech that their suffering would end.
Femi Falana (SAN), a human rights attorney, claims that the suffering of Nigerians as a result of the currency crisis is getting worse and that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Thursday broadcast offered no comfort.
This was stated in a statement that the chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COvid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB) signed on Thursday.
He claims that Buhari’s decision to only allow the 200 naira note to be in circulation while keeping the older 500 and 1,000 naira notes out of circulation is insufficient to put an end to the crisis because there aren’t enough 200 naira notes left to replace all of the older 1,000 and 500 naira notes.
Falana stated that since the “crisis” was initiated by the government, only the government is capable of putting an end to it. Without immediate action, “this catastrophe will get worse in the days to come,” he warned.
The Senior Advocate added that section 287(1) of the Constitution was violated by the President’s decision to remove the old N500 and N1000 notes from the list of legal money, hence that decision has no legal standing.
He urged the Federal Government to immediately abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling ordering that the old notes continue to be accepted as lawful money.
This is the whole statement:
FG MUST END NIGERIANS’ SUFFERING
The Nigerian people are experiencing increasing levels of pain. In his address to the country, President Buhari offered no encouragement that this suffering would soon come to an end. To stop the rise in fuel prices and restore the availability of money, we must act immediately. We cannot continue to suffer or exist in this way. President Buhari finally made an announcement this morning, although it took him 13 days (instead of 7) to do it. To end the crisis, nevertheless, it is insufficient. To replace all of the old N1,000 and N500 notes, there are not enough old 200 naira notes. Also, the new deadline of April 10 is too soon.
A few days may pass before the problem was resolved if the government was sincere. Up to the end of the year, any old currency notes could be accepted as legal cash. Also, until the end of the next year, any old currency could be exchanged at banks and the CBN. The markets would regain their faith as a result, and the old currency would once more be accepted.
The issue is that the corrupt elite believe that increasing misery and fatalities among the populace are a price worth paying in exchange for their victory. Those who are hungry are more likely to die from common diseases because they are unable to purchase food. Many people lack the means to visit the hospital. If they arrive, they won’t have the money for exams. They cannot afford the medication if they undergo the testing.
The government initiated this problem. Only the government has the power to resolve the situation. In a few of days, the government might put an end to this issue. In a couple of days, the CBN might give the banks access to old currency notes to distribute to the general public.
The situation can be resolved with just that. A conflict between several clans of the corrupt elite is the cause of the untold crises that exists throughout the nation, as well as the pain, suffering, and fatalities. Conflicts over who will plunder for the next four years or longer are hurting ordinary people.
This problem will only get worse in the next days if decisive action is not taken. Violence related to the election is probably going to get worse due to the pain and rage. The Buhari Administration will thereafter be with us for at least another three months. Every other course of action will just exacerbate the problem.
The president lacks the authority to overturn the supreme court.
The Federal Government, Central Bank, and all commercial banks were directed by the Supreme Court to permit the old Naira notes to continue to be accepted as lawful tender in Nigeria on February 8, 2023. The Central Bank of Nigeria was unable to create enough currency notes, necessitating the directive. T
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered the Federal Government’s attorneys to counsel their clients to guarantee compliance with the court order.
This morning, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a speech to the nation in which he declared that he had “approved the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10, 2023, when the old N200 notes cease to be legal tender.”
Consequently, in defiance of the Supreme Court’s unequivocal and unambiguous judgment, the President has declared that old N500 and N1000 notes are no longer valid forms of payment in Nigeria.
Since it violates section 287(1) of the Constitution, which states that “the decisions of the Supreme court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme court,” the President’s decision to remove the old N500 and N1000 notes from Nigeria’s legal tender is without legal standing.
A public official’s tenure in office was terminated in 1983. He sought legal help from the Lagos State High Court. Under the terms of the Public Officers (Special Provisions) Order No. 17 of 1984, the then military dictator Major General Muhammadu Buhari fired the officer while the case was still ongoing.
In the case of Garba v. Federal Civil Service Commission (1998) 1 NWLR (PT 71) 449 at 453–454, the Supreme Court castigated the military junta for allegedly dismissing the employee and for setting aside the alleged dismissal. Judge Kayode Eso, speaking for the supreme court, said, among other things:
What has to be done now is a review of the Respondents’ action in removing the Appellant from office while the case is still in progress. Such behavior, in my opinion, is disrespectful to the judiciary, which has been tasked by the constitution with determining civil rights and which has escaped all military coups unharmed. In order for the judiciary, a significant branch of the government, to function in accordance with the rule of law, there must be complete confidence in that institution.
It must in fact be able to be proven, especially when it involves other government agencies. The President and the Legislative must demonstrate to the entire country their demonstrable confidence in the judiciary during civil days. During a military regime, the obligation is greater.
The question of whether to impose a rule of law or a rule of force is typically one that the military must decide upon upon assuming power. While the latter might be acceptable as a rule of terror, once the route of law is chosen, the powerful arm of government, the militia, which represents the legislature and executive, must humble itself and submit to the rule of law that is therefore made possible.
In light of the aforementioned, we kindly request that the Federal Government immediately follow the Supreme Court’s ruling. After all, the president is adamant that he has since committed to democracy.
Femi Falana SAN,
Alliance on Surviving
Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB).