Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), apex northern socio-cultural group, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to comply with the Supreme Court’s judgement, which declared that, the old naira notes remain legal tender till December 31st, 2023, to avoid crisis in Nigeria.
In a statement issued on Sunday by its secretary-general, Aliyu Murtala, the forum said President Buhari is under oath to defend the constitution of Nigeria, and that, the much-touted benefits of the naira redesign can never justify the damage to his credentials as a democrat and a stickler for the rule of law.
According to ACF, “Some ten days ago, the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, breached the Constitution of Nigeria in the way he issued a directive to the CBN for the redesign of the Naira without consulting with the National Council of States and the Federal Executive Council.
“It went further to rule that the unconstitutional use of powers by the President on the Naira redesign has breached the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens in various ways.
“The state governors have persistently argued that the policy which permitted the CBN to place an embargo on the circulation of old N500 and N1,000 notes while not providing their replacement in sufficient amounts, had triggered severe cash shortage and chaos in the economy.
“It has led to runaway inflation in food and other commodities. Huge crowds and long queues form around bank offices and ATM points across the country as people struggle to get the new cash which have remained extremely scarce. It has triggered riots and other forms of civil unrest.”
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While citing the State governors opposed to the policy, ACF noted that the current approach of the CBN, raises concerns about the respect for the civil liberties and rights of Nigerians as it relates to their freedom to use legitimately earned income as they so wish.
“They believe that the CBN is in truth pursuing a policy of ‘Naira Confiscation’ which would possibly set off a crippling depression,” ACF said.
“Monday, the 13th of March, 2023, marks the 10th day when the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that CBN’s Naira Redesign policy is unlawful and that its implementation should stop. Whatever the CBN or anyone else says about the benefits of the policy, which evidently are many, is of little comfort as soon as the highest court in the country has deemed that it is, or, at least the manner of its implementation, breaches the law.
“Ten days is long enough time for the government to find its way towards complying with a court order which is central to the achievement of peace, order and good governance in the country.
“President Buhari is under oath to defend the constitution of Nigeria. As his long term supporters, it will be remiss of us if we fail to warn that the much touted benefits of the Naira redesign can never justify the damage to his credentials as a democrat and a stickler for the rule of law.
“This is quite apart from the real possibility of the crisis morphing into a serious social disorder leading to the possible breakdown of law and order throughout Nigeria. We do not believe nor can we advise him to pay such a heavy price on account of a policy whose immediate goals are not entirely clear to a majority of Nigerians,” ACF said.