Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Sunday, asked the Department of State Services to immediately arrest the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami for their disobedience to a ruling of the highest court of the land ordering that old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain valid till December 31, 2023.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the failure of the AGF and the CBN governor to expressly comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court of March 3, 2023 is treasonable and a direct attack on the supremacy of Nigeria and this affront should not be swept under the carpet.
Already, over one week after the Supreme Court delivered its final ruling in the lawsuit on the old banknotes and extended their validity to December 31, 2023, the scarcity of the currency still persists across the states of the federation even as many Nigerians have refused to accept the old notes following the failure of the CBN to make a pronouncement to that effect.
Nigerians who thronged banks said they were given old N500 and N1000 notes, but lamented that spending the money has not been easy as traders refused to collect them. State governments like Kaduna, Kogi, Kano, amongst others have since warned that those who reject old naira in contravention of the Supreme Court order will go to jail.
Meanwhile, some state governments are planning to initiate contempt proceedings against Malami and Emefiele over their refusal to implement the Supreme Court judgment on the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government.
Reports have it that the Federal Government was served with the enrolled order and Certified True Copy of last week’s Supreme Court judgment, which also ordered that the old N1,000, N500 and N200 should be in circulation alongside the new notes till December 31, 2023.
The silence of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the judgment of the apex court had fuelled the rejection of the remaining old N1,000 and N500 as legal tender. On Monday, some banks commenced paying customers the old notes in partial compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, but by Wednesday the banks stopped disbursing the old notes as the CBN insisted that it had not given any directive to that effect.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The flagrant disobedience and arrogance of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami after the Supreme Court order is condemnable and treasonable.
“No individual is greater than the Nigerian State and those who think they are should be met with resistance and the punishment that they deserve. For Section 37 of the Criminal Code Act in Nigeria provided that any person who levies war against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the state (here being Nigeria) is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death.
“Now that cash had dried up in most banks in states due to what senior bankers described as the inability of the CBN to supply them with new naira notes, protests have started to break up in the country. This can threaten the security of the entire nation and the Department of State Services should not fold its arms and watch while Malami and Emefiele plunge Nigeria into chaos and untold hardship.
“HURIWA demand the arrest of CBN governor, the AGF Malami and their trial for treason for failing to comply with the judgment of the highest court in Nigeria. HURIWA also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to be democratic and obey the Supreme Court because the apex court on March 3 also pronounced that the February 16, 2023 declaration by the President is dictatorial.”
March 12, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.