On Sunday, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) called on the Department of State Services to immediately arrest Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, for disobeying a ruling of the highest court in the country. The ruling ordered that old N200, N500, and N1000 notes remain valid until December 31, 2023.
HURIWA stated that the failure of the CBN Governor and the AGF to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling of March 3, 2023, is a direct attack on the supremacy of Nigeria and is a treasonable offense that should not be ignored. The scarcity of the old currency persists across the states of the federation even after the Supreme Court’s ruling, and many Nigerians are refusing to accept the old notes because the CBN has not issued a directive to that effect.
Nigerians who have received old N500 and N1000 notes are finding it difficult to spend them as traders are refusing to accept them. Some state governments, such as Kaduna, Kogi, and Kano, have warned that those who reject the old naira in contravention of the Supreme Court order will face imprisonment.
In the meantime, some state governments are planning to initiate contempt proceedings against Malami and Emefiele for their refusal to implement the Supreme Court’s judgment on the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government. The Federal Government was served with the enrolled order and Certified True Copy of the Supreme Court’s judgment, which ordered that the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes should remain in circulation alongside the new notes until December 31, 2023.
The silence of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the judgment of the apex court has led to the rejection of the remaining old N1,000 and N500 as legal tender. Some banks started paying customers the old notes on Monday in partial compliance with the Supreme Court’s judgment, but they stopped disbursing the old notes on Wednesday because the CBN insisted that it had not given any directive to that effect.
Onwubiko stated: “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 the 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.”
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