BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to disclose details of the measures that the Federal Government is taking to immediately and effectively obey the Supreme Court decision extending the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1, 000 notes, and directing the Central Bank of Nigeria to continue to receive the notes from Nigerians.
SERAP urged Buhari “to publicly instruct the CBN to immediately and effectively implement the Supreme Court decision ordering an end to the cash withdrawal limits imposed by banks because such restrictions violate citizens’ right to freely use their property.” In the letter dated March 4, 2023 and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said there was an overriding public interest in disclosing the details of the measures the government and the CBN were taking to effectively and satisfactorily obey the Supreme Court decision.
According to SERAP, disclosing the measures that the Federal Government and the CBN were taking to implement the Supreme Court decision would also enable Nigerians to monitor and scrutinize the level of compliance with the decision.
SERAP said the public should not be kept in the dark on what the Federal Government and the CBN were doing to implement the decision, saying widely publishing the implementation measures would also improve accountability of state officials and public confidence in the rule of law and Nigeria’s democracy. The Supreme Court on Friday extended the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1, 000 notes till December 31, 2023 stating that the CBN must continue to receive the notes from Nigerians. The apex court held that the President’s directive on the redesign of the new notes without due consultation was invalid.
SERAP’s letter read in part, “We would be grateful if the requested information and recommended measures are implemented within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our requests. “The implementation by your government of the CBN policy on the redesign of the country’s currency has contributed to violations of citizens’ rights.
“SERAP is concerned about the persistent disobedience of court orders by your government, and the apparent lack of respect for constitutional and international rule of law obligations. “Nigerians are entitled to the details of the level of compliance by your government and the CBN with the Supreme Court decision as a matter of transparency, justice and the rule of law.”