“We Cannot Under Any Guise Or Pretence, Accept Or Tolerate Any Appearance Of Autocracy Or Dictatorship”- Maikyau Calls On Buhari To Comply With Supreme Court Orders On Naira Redesign Policy Immediately
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN has called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct compliance with the terms of the orders made by the Supreme Court in its judgement delivered on 3 March 2023 in respect of the Naira redesign policy.
In a statement made available to The Metro Lawyer (TML) news desk, Maikyau outlined the steps which the NBA had taken, in the wake of the Naira redesign policy embarked upon by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), stating that the manner in which the CBN has carried out the implementation of the policy, almost without regard for the apparent sufferings of the people as could be seen across the country, has continued to raise questions as to the true motive of the cash redesign policy.
“Nigerians did not have to die and neither should there be any loss of properties on account of the implementation of a Naira redesign policy if properly undertaken. Unfortunately, and sadly so, that was our experience; Nigerians died, properties were destroyed and lost; there is hunger in many homes as people are unable to use their hard-earned funds which they deposited in the banks because of the apparent high handedness of the policy. The rural economy was stifled. Economic activities have dwindled, many farmers engaged in dry season farming have not been able to cultivate their farmlands – only about one out of every ten hectares of rice fields have been cultivated in most parts of the North-western States. Food security has come under threat as the cash crunch has affected ability of rural farmers to engage in farming activities. Simply put, the implementation of the policy appears not to have a human face,” Maikyau declared.
Recalling that the negative impact of the policy led to the institution of the action before the Supreme Court by some States against the Federal Government in Suit No.: SC/CV/162/2023 between Attorney General of Kaduna State & 9 Ors. Vs. Attorney General of the Federation & 2 Ors, Maikyau reiterated the judgment of the court in the matter, which ordered the President to direct the recirculation of the withdrawn old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes; and also that the two versions should continue as legal tender till 31- 12-2023, by which time the redesigned ones would have been printed enough to completely replace all the old notes.
He said, “The court did not mince words on the negative impact of the President’s directives which deprived owners of the withdrawn old Naira notes their right to the ownership and use of the funds without an enabling law. This brought hardship to Nigerians and the situation has not abated.
“Rather than comply with the directives of the Supreme Court, the Federal government stuck to its position despite clear findings that the actions were illegal and unlawful.
“It is sad and disheartening that the Federal Government and its agency, the CBN, will remain so adamant about the plight of Nigerians as a direct consequence of the implementation of the Naira Redesign Policy, in spite of several interventions for review thereof in order to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians, leading to the damning remarks and orders by the Supreme Court as quoted above.
“Regrettably, not even the clear findings by the Supreme Court as to the unfair and deceptive nature of the policy could make the Federal Government retrace its steps. The Supreme Court went to the extent of not only condemning the actions of the President as contemptuous of the Court, but also held that the actions constitute a threat to the Rule of Law and the existence of our democracy.”
While commending the judgement of the Supreme court on the policy, as it not only spoke to the responsibility of the Court to the people but also its bounden duty to protect the Rule of Law and the integrity of the Court, Maikyau insisted that the President is under constitutional obligation to comply and enforce the decision of the Supreme Court, by the provisions of Section 287 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“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.
“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 judgement delivered on 3 March 2023.
“The Nigerian Bar Association remains committed to the promotion, entrenchment and respect for the Rule of Law, integrity of the Court and the independence of the judiciary. The NBA shall stand up against any action that seeks to undermine the Rule of Law, the integrity of the Court and the independence of the judiciary,” he concluded.
Read the full statement by the NBA President below.