NAIRA: CSOs disagree with Supreme Court’s decision and claim it will allow politicians to buy votes.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday suspending the February 10 deadline for the use of three old naira notes, according to the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) of Nigeria, is intended to allow dishonest politicians to use old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes during the general elections on February 25 and March 11.
The group’s national coordinator, Obed Okwukwe, made this baffling statement during a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
The old 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes were supposed to stop being legal money on February 10; however, the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been instructed not to enforce that deadline.
Following an ex parte petition brought by the governments of Kogi, Kaduna, and Zamfara states, a seven-member Supreme Court panel led by Justice John Okoro unanimously decided to issue the temporary injunction.
The top court also ruled that the Federal Government and the apex bank could not enforce the deadline until February 15 when a notice on the matter would be decided.
“This directive is just geared to facilitate politicians in the sharing of old money before elections,” Okwukwe claimed during the news conference that followed the decision.
“We, the CSOs, reject it; it is a conspiracy to open bank vaults so that those who buy and hold illegitimate wealth have money to buy votes,” they said.
“In the greater good of the Nigerian election, we request that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) swiftly revoke the ex parte order. We have been hurt.
Zamfara, Kogi, and Kaduna, according to AbdulHakeem Mustapha (SAN), the attorney for the three state governments, brought the Federal Government and the top bank to the highest court because the policy was negatively affecting Nigerians, especially those who resided in rural regions.
Additionally, he asserted that the three states have employed the Supreme Court’s intervening jurisdiction in the naira reform strategy since there is a “conflict” between the federal government and the states.
The CSOs countered that the situation did not include a conflict between the federal and state governments that required intervention from the Supreme Court.
“Today, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign strategy is in effect, and the governor of the CBN implemented it with President Muhammadu Buhari’s support. It is a Federal Government policy.
“So, what is the issue for the determination before the Supreme Court of Nigeria? Is there any conflict between the state and the federal governments that the Supreme Court has the guts to issue an ex parte order?” Okwukwe asked.
In the sake of the Nigerian people, he pleaded with the supreme court and the CJN to set aside the ruling and refrain from letting desperate politicians take advantage of them.
“We request the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to vacate the order so that Nigerians would not perceive the Supreme Court as an institution that is consistently opposed to genuine elections.
“We request that the President use his constitutional authority. We might advise him to issue an urgent Executive Order setting the expiration date for the new currency as February 10, 2023, which is within his legal authority to do given that an ex parte order issued outside of his jurisdiction cannot override an Executive Order issued by the President, according to Okwukwe.