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Old notes: You can’t override Supreme Court, CDD tells Buhari

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the Supreme Court ruling restraining the Federal Government from enforcing the…

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the Supreme Court ruling restraining the Federal Government from enforcing the February 10 deadline to end the use of old naira notes.

On February 8, the supreme court temporarily restrained the federal government from banning the use of the old naira notes from February 10, 2023, pending the hearing of the matter on February 15.

Despite the court’s order, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, insisted on the deadline.

But on Thursday, the president extended the validity of the old N200 notes till April 10, 2023.

Naira crisis: Emefiele meets bank executives on old N200 notes’ release

FULL SPEECH: Buhari’s stand about old, new naira notes

Reacting, CDD, in a statement signed by its director, Idayat Hassan, said the president breached the Principle of rule of law and separation of power.

The statement reads: “Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) closely followed the Thursday morning broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on the crisis caused by the implementation of the Naira redesign and cash swap policy. The high point of the broadcast was the President’s approval of the recirculation of only the old N200 bank notes, alongside the redesigned notes till April 10, 2023.

“We note, with grave concern, the President’s decision to unfortunately take steps contrary to the position of the Supreme Court on a case concerning the policy; this is sub-judice. The apex court ruling on the implementation of the redesign policy is that the old notes remain legal tender until the court gives a final verdict.

“It therefore amounts to a flagrant disobedience and violation of the orders of the highest court in the land for the President to carry on as if the ruling of the Supreme Court is of no effect. CDD is convinced that this is an egregious affront on the rule of law, and the principle of separation of powers. In a constitutional democracy, which is anchored on the rule of law and separation of powers, the President’s action amounts to an unconstitutional power grab, which degrades our democracy.

“President Buhari’s decision has dire consequences for the 2023 general elections, which are less than 10 days away. Observers from all over the world are in Nigeria to witness the elections and report on the growth of the Nigerian democracy. This flagrant side-stepping of the Supreme Court’s decision does no good for our nation, the elections and the democracy we have collectively nurtured over the last 23 years. The President has no authority whatsoever to override any court in the land, talk less of the Supreme Court. CDD therefore calls on President Buhari to immediately purge himself of his unconstitutional overarch and align himself with the ruling of the apex court.

“For a government with a history of routinely disobeying court orders, this goes beyond the fine details of policy preferences. It is about respect for the courts’ critical institutions, which stand as pillars of our democracy, whether their verdicts sit well with the government or not.

“With less than 120 days to the end of the president’s second and final term in office, we believe this is a clear opportunity for President Buhari to loudly show his support for the rule of law, and live up to the promise he made to the Nigerian people to be a reformed democrat.”