A civil society organization, Centre for Social and Economic Rights (CSER) has condemned in the strongest terms the violence that has broken out in some parts of the country as a result of the wicked, insensitive, irresponsible and provocative implementation of the naira redesign policy which has subjected Nigerians to untold hardship, pains, agony and deprivations of their personal and legitimate money domiciled in banks.
According to a press statement issued in Lagos today Thursday 16th February 2023 by the group executive director Nelson Ekujumi, he stated that, “We are saddened and traumatized by the pains and anguish inflicted on innocent Nigerians by the inhuman implementation of this policy which has degenerated to pockets of violence and it’s attendant destruction of properties and likely loss of life”. “We condemn the violence in it’s entirety and call on Nigerians to remain calm and not to fall prey to the plots of anti democratic elements whose major goal is to truncate the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections”.
The group stated that it sympathized with Nigerians for enduring the pains and agony inflicted by the policy so far and urged them to continue to keep the peace because, “Together we shall weather and overcome this storm”.
However, CSER wants it placed on record that the blame for this violence should be placed squarely at the doorstep of the CBN management and the federal government for their insensitivity to the pains of ordinary Nigerians in accessing their personal and legitimate funds which is condemnable and unacceptable.
The civil society organization while welcoming and appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for his presidential broadcast of 16th February 2023 in response to the naira redesign policy implementation crisis, however faulted Mr. President speech for affirming only the old N200 notes as valid legal tender as against the old N500 and N1000 notes which from the speech are no longer legal tender.
Nelson Ekujumi noted that, it is not in doubt that Nigeria operates a constitutional democracy in which the law of the land is supreme as individuals, groups and institutions are subject to the provisions of the law. Going further, he stated, “We are aware that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is one that prides itself as a respecter of the rule of law, we are also aware that only yesterday 15th February 2023, the supreme court ruled that it’s order on the dateline extension of the old N200, N500 and N1000 naira as legal tender subsists till the next adjourned date of 22nd February, 2023”.
Therefore, we are at CSER are at a loss as to where in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, Mr. President derives the power to over ride the pronouncement of the court via a presidential broadcast?
As stated by Mr. President in his presidential speech today, he himself made allusion to the matter being in court and we would have expected him to have taken judicial notice of the court pronouncement in his speech, but which unfortunately and sadly was not the case.
With all due respect, “Mr. President by the presidential broadcast of recognizing only the old N200 as legal tender and pronouncing the old N500 and N1000 notes as no longer legal tender, is by law liable for contempt of court which is unfortunate.
We also want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians to take electoral notice of politicians and political parties who have sided with the people in this trying times as against those gloating and calling on the CBN to remain resolute in inflicting pains on the suffering Nigerians, they have exposed themselves as who they really are as enemies of the people who wish us no good but are only pretending and should be rejected at the polls.
Therefore, as we call on Nigerians to remain calm and not resort to violence in resolving this CBN inflicted crisis, we demand that Mr. President retract that part of his speech in obedience to the supreme court ruling that the old N200, N500 and N1000 remain legal tender till the determination of the suit whose next hearing is slated for the 22nd of February 2023.