The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) says the federal government should direct immediate compliance with the supreme court order extending the validity of old naira notes.
Yakubu Maikyau, NBA president, said this in a statement issued on Monday.
On March 3, the supreme court ordered that the old naira should continue to be used as legal tender until December 31.
In spite of the order, the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are yet to issue official announcements to the public indicating compliance.
The NBA president expressed concerns over the hardship the currency redesign policy has imposed on Nigerians, saying the federal government’s refusal to adhere to the court order shows a failure of the constitution and democracy.
“The supreme court has issued directives to the federal government for the benefit of the people and there is no option other than to comply. The president is under constitutional obligation to comply and enforce the decision of the supreme court,” the statement reads.
“Section 287 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that the decisions of the supreme court shall be enforced in any part of the federation by all authorities and persons, and by court with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the supreme court.
“Nigerians may not be too enchanted with our judiciary, and this may have arisen from unsubstantiated and spurious allegations of judicial misconduct, the fact however remains that we still must look to the judiciary as the only and final resort, to protect our rights as a people and secure probity in public life. The supreme court has spoken for the people of this nation and has appropriately issued ORDERS to the executive and the orders of the court must be complied with.
“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 of 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.”
TheCable had earlier reported that Charles Soludo, governor of Anambra state, said Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, informed him that banks had been instructed to dispense and collect old naira notes.
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