Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the use of dollar as a means of payment in the country.
In a suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/146/16, filed by a lawyer in Falana firm, Mr. Wisdom Elum, the senior advocate prayed the court to order the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the use of the United States of America’s dollar as a legal tender in Nigeria.
Falana said the CBN has “dollarised the economy” to the extent that the dollar has become a legal tender, with school fees, rents and others now being charged and paid in dollars “to the detriment of the nation’s economy”.
According to him, the CBN’s monetary policy was the cause of the weaker naira and adverse multiplier effects, such as rising inflation, closure of factories and increasing unemployment.
Falana noted that even when the CBN claimed to have fixed the exchange rate at N198 to a dollar, they had allowed market forces to increase the exchange rate to over N400 to a dollar.
The plaintiff said “the devaluation of the currency and dollarisation of the economy have made mockery of the 2016 budget.
“The monetary policy of the defendant (the CBN) has led to a situation whereby too much naira chase few dollars, thereby making the naira weaker in relation to the dollar and instigating an adverse multiplier effect.
“The monetary policy of the defendant has also led to increasing costs, rapidly rising inflation and interest rates, closure of factories and high unemployment.”
The plaintiff, therefore, asked the court to determine “whether the monetary policy of the defendant, which allows market forces to fix and determine the exchange rate of the naira is not a violation of Section 16 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007 and Section 16 of the 1999 Constitution as amended”.
He also seeks a determination whether the CBN’s decision to allow the US dollar as legal tender is not a contravention of Section 20 of the CBN Act.
Falana prayed the court as follows: “A declaration that by virtue of Section 16 of the CBN Act 2007 the defendant shall fix and determine the exchange rate of the naira by a suitable mechanism devised for that purpose.
“A declaration that the monetary policy of the defendant, which allows market forces to fix and determine the exchange rate of the naira, is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates Section 16 of the CBN Act 2007.
“A declaration that the dollarisation of the economy through the use of the US dollar as a legal tender in Nigeria is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates Section 20 of the CBN Act, 2007.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from allowing market forces to determine the exchange rate of the naira in any manner whatsoever and howsoever.
“An order directing the defendant to stop forthwith the use of the US dollar as a legal tender in Nigeria in any manner whatsoever and howsoever.”