The National Bar Association has condemned the stance of the Federal Government on its naira redesign policy.
The association in the statement signed by its president, Yakubu Maikyau, is demanding compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court in suit no: SC/CV/162/2023 delivered on March 3.
The NBA disclosed that in the wake of the naira redesign policy, it engaged in broad consultations with critical stakeholders in the country in order to assess the possible impact of the policy on the economy and the people of Nigeria.
The body of lawyers said, incidentally, the CBN’s cash swap program which took effect on 23 January 2023 has not addressed the concerns of Nigerians post-31 January 2023.
The letter read in part, “It is sad and disheartening that the Federal Government and its agency, the CBN, will remain so adamant about the plight of Nigerians as a direct consequence of the implementation of the Naira Redesign Policy, in spite of several interventions for review thereof in order to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians, leading to the damning remarks and orders by the Supreme Court as quoted above.”
“Regrettably, not even the clear findings by the Supreme Court as to the unfair and deceptive nature of the policy could make the Federal Government retrace its steps. The Supreme Court went to the extent of not only condemning the actions of the President as contemptuous of the Court but also held that the actions constitute a threat to the Rule of Law and the existence of our democracy.”
“I commend the judgment of the apex court in this matter as it not only spoke to the responsibility of the Court to the people but also its bounden duty to protect the Rule of Law and the integrity of the Court. The Supreme Court has by this judgment proven to be the Supreme Court of the people of Nigeria.”
“Whenever public confidence in the other arms of government begins to wane, the legal profession, in particular the judiciary, must rise to the occasion by delivering justice with such courage and precision to provide succour to the people. This is what the Supreme Court has done so boldly and courageously in this instance.”
“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.”
Quoting Section 287 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) the NBA stated 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.”
The statement explained further that Nigerians may not be too enchanted with the Judiciary, arising 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.”
“It stated that the country cannot under any guise or pretence accept or tolerate any appearance of autocracy or dictatorship noting that “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.”
Following, the NBA urged the President to immediately direct compliance with the terms of the orders made by the Supreme Court in its judgment delivered on March 3, 2023, and pledged its commitment 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.”