A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mr Femi Falana, on Tuesday condemned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for flouting the Supreme Court’s order suspending the February 10 deadline on circulation of old notes.
The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, had on February 8, granted an interim injunction restraining the CBN and the Federal Government from implementing the February. 10 deadline.
There have been conflicting reports on the current status of the old naira notes due to the stance of the CBN, as the apex bank maintained a calculated silence on whether it would abide by the Court order or not
It was gathered that some banks and big supermarkets had stopped collecting the old notes since Monday in compliance with the February 10 deadline ordered by the CBN for circulation of the old notes.
Although the CBN has not openly made it stance known on the Supreme Court’s interim injunction, but its “body language” portrays “non-committal”.
Emefiele, while speaking at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday, said: “there was no need shifting Feb. 10 deadline on old notes.”
But Falana expressed different opinion on the CBN’s controversial stand
While speaking on Channels TV’s “The 2023 Verdict” on Tuesday, Falana said the government was not ready to comply with the Supreme Court’s order.
His words: “In a country where the rule of law operates, once the Supreme Court has determined a matter or given an order, it is expected that all and sundry, everybody, will comply with the order,”
Falana said that a statement credited to the CBN that it would not comply with the order of the apex court because it was not a party to the case could only be tenable in a “Banana Republic”.
“A statement was credited to the Central Bank that since it was not a party to the case, it’s not going to comply with the order. I thought that could only happen in a Banana Republic.”
“I expected the Central Bank to have issued a statement following the order of the Supreme Court that: ‘all actions are stalled until the 15th of February’,” he said.
Falana said that those that deliberately flouted courts’ order should be penalised, stressing that nobody should feel that they were above the law.
“For me, an example has to be made this time around, so that nobody will feel that he is above the law in our country,” Falana, who is also a Human Rights lawyer explained.