The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has said that the federal government is drifting toward dictatorship by refusing to obey orders of the Supreme Court which directed the use of old naira notes till December 31, 2023.
NBA disclosed this in a statement signed by its president, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, and made available to THE WHISTLER on Monday.
“We cannot under any guise or pretence accept or tolerate any appearance of autocracy or dictatorship. Our system of democratic governance has come to stay, it must not only be respected by all and sundry but must also be jealously guarded and protected.
“This is the greatest test or challenge to our constitutional democracy and the Executive cannot afford to disregard the ORDERS of the Supreme Court made for the benefit of the people that elected it to power,” Maikyau stated in respect of the apex court decision on the old notes.
THE WHISTLER reported that the apex court had on March 3, ordered the usage of the old naira notes alongside the new ones, berating the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN for punishing Nigerians with the scarcity of both currencies.
The judgment was in favour of about 10 protesting state governments including Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara, which sought an “injunction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender.”
The apex court had agreed with the plaintiffs, faulting the FG and CBN for not consulting widely before taking such a decision.
But since the judgment was delivered by the highest court of the land, THE WHISTLER reports that the scarcity of the naira notes has continued with businesses lamenting the unavailability of cash and the frustration associated with online banking transactions.
On its part, the NBA stated that with the realities on the ground, the CBN proceeded with the naira swap implementation without regard for the sufferings of the Nigerian people, adding the development has raised “questions as to the true motive of the cash redesign policy.”
Maikyau urged President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the Supreme Court order and not undermine democracy.
The statement further reads, “I therefore on behalf of all Nigerians, call on the President to immediately direct compliance with the terms of the orders made by the Supreme Court in its judgment delivered on 3 March 2023.
“The Nigerian Bar Association remains committed to the promotion, entrenchment, and respect for the Rule of Law, the integrity of the Court, and the independence of the judiciary.”