The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has strongly condemned the position taken by the Federal Government about the naira redesigning policy.
In a statement signed by its president, Yakubu Maikyau, the association wants the Supreme Court’s March 3 ruling in case SC/CV/162/2023 to be followed.
The NBA said that after the naira redesign policy, it talked to many influential people in the country to find out how the policy might affect the Nigerian economy and the people who live there.
The body of lawyers said that the CBN’s cash swap programme, which started on January 23, 2023, has not addressed Nigerians’ concerns after January 31, 2023.
The letter said, 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.”
The NBA quoted Section 287 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to say that “the decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by Courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme Court.”
The statement went on to say that Nigerians might not be too impressed with the judiciary because of false claims of judicial misconduct that had yet to be proven.
“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.”
The NBA then asked the president to ensure that the Supreme Court’s orders from its March 3, 2023 ruling are followed immediately. It also promised to work to promote, strengthen, and respect the Rule of Law, the Court’s integrity, and the judiciary’s independence.
“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.”