The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says the Buhari regime’s insistence of phasing out old naira notes in spite of a Supreme Court ruling smacks of lawlessness.
Mr Gbajabiamila’s assertion comes after President Muhammadu Buhari announced Thursday morning in a nationwide broadcast that it would only bend backwards to allow the reissue of old N200 notes.
The speaker said though the president’s directive was a step in the right direction, the federal government could not afford situations that “suggest disregard for the rule of law”.
He flayed the decision of the federal government for maintaining silence on the Supreme Court order on currency swap.
The apex court had earlier given an order for the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes to remain legal tender, pending the determination of a case brought before it by some state governors.
The apex court on February 15 also reiterated its order and adjourned the matter to February 22.
However, Mr Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast on February 16, said he had instructed CBN to reintroduce the old N200 note until April 10, while the old N1,000 and N500 had stopped being legal tender.
Mr Gbajabiamila asserted that Mr Buhari’s decision still fell short of the order of the Supreme Court that the old currencies remained legal tender.
He urged the citizens to bear the moment with equanimity for the sake of the country, urging Nigerians to work together to resist actions that can escalate tensions.
“In all things, let the well-being of our fellow citizens and the survival of our nation be foremost in our hearts and guide all the decisions we make in this historic moment.”
Mr Gbajabiamila said “citizens and visitors were experiencing grave and unnecessary hardship across the country.
“They spend hours and days queuing at banks and teller machines to receive stipends of their own money to afford life’s necessities.
“This situation is a consequence of the flawed implementation of the Naira redesign policy by the CBN.
“It is also the result of decisions made by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to refuse counsel, be guided by precedent or abide by the decisions of superior courts.”
He said it was disheartening that the CBN had refused to admit error and changed course in the face of mounting evidence that the implementation of the policy had been a devastating failure.