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Gbajabiamila faults Buhari, Emefiele on naira redesign



Femi Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the crisis trailing the redesign of the naira notes.

President Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast on Thursday morning extended the validity of the old N200 notes till April 10.

He also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to circulate the banknotes.

The president, however, declared that the old N500 and N1,000 notes had ceased to longer legal tender in the country.

Buhari’s pronouncement however negates the Supreme Court judgement which upheld the legality of the old notes.

In a statement he issued on Thursday, Gbajabiamila expressed concern over the Federal Government and CBN’s disregard for the Supreme Court’s ruling.

He insisted that the implementation of the currency redesign policy was poor and berated the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele for not admitting his errors

He said: “Today, citizens and visitors are experiencing grave and unnecessary hardship across our 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 Central Bank of Nigeria. It is also the result of decisions made by the Central Bank’s Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to refuse counsel, be guided by precedent, or abide by the decisions of superior courts.

“Section 20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 provides the statutory authority for the Central Bank of Nigeria to initiate and implement policies for the recall of Nigerian currency. The extant provision is reproduced below:

“Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2) of this section, the Bank shall have power, if directed to do so by the President and after giving reasonable notice on that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this sub-section, shall, on the expiration of such notice cease to be legal tender, but, subject to section 22 of this Act, shall be redeemed by the Bank upon demand.”

READ ALSO: Naira, fuel scarcity contrived to stop Tinubu from becoming president —Gbajabiamila

The speaker blamed the naira scarcity on the CBN’s failure to sufficiently replace the old currency it pulled out of circulation across the country.

He argued that the policy has crumbled many businesses in the country with the apex bank putting additional pressure on the already epileptic electronic banking channels, thus resulting in a near-complete collapse of trade in the country.

Gbajabiamila added: “It is unclear what interest is served by persisting in this erroneous course towards an unfolding economic disaster that the country cannot afford. The ongoing devastation of livelihoods is bound to have consequences long after this moment has passed.

“It is disheartening that the CBN has resolutely refused to admit error and change course in the face of mounting evidence that the implementation of this policy has been a devastating failure. It is deeply troubling that neither the intervention of the National Council of State nor an order of the Supreme Court is sufficient to cause the Governor of the CBN to review the decisions that have brought us to this entirely avoidable moment.

“This morning, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, announced that he has authorised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reintroduce the old N200 notes into circulation, pending when the Bank can make sufficient amounts of the new currency available.

“This is a step in the right direction and I hope it helps curb Nigerians’ suffering. However, the decision still falls short of the order of the Supreme Court that the old currencies remain legal tender pending the adjudication of a pending suit brought by state governments on the legality of the policy and its implementation.

“ It is not to the benefit of our country for the Federal Government to act in ways that suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law. It will be better for us to strictly adhere to the court’s order in this matter pending the adjudication of the substantive suit.”

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