By Adeyemi Olusoga/Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has been told that he cannot overrule the Supreme Court pronouncement on the new naira notes redesign after the president made a speech, Thursday morning stating that the old N200 would continue to circulate alongside other new notes till April 10, 2023.
Speaking after the president’s speech, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa also described Buhari’s speech as “executive rascality” and a contempt of the court.
You may recall that 10 states have dragged the federal government to the Supreme Court to halt the February 10, 2023 deadline issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over when the old naira notes would cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.
The states include: Kaduna, Zamfara, Kogi, Lagos, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Ondo, Ekiti and Sokoto states.
However, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court adjourned the determination of the suit to February 22, 2022.
The President, in a nationwide address on Thursday however said to ease the pains on ordinary Nigerians who have been unable to use the old naira notes and had no access to the new notes, the old N200 notes would continue to be in circulation with the new notes until April 10, 2023.
Adegboruwa however said the broadcast is “sad for our democracy”.
“There is separation of powers in a democracy. Under section 235 of the 1999 Constitution, the Supreme Court is the final authority in legal pronouncements in Nigeria.
“Under section 287(1) of the Constitution, the President is statutorily obliged to obey, enforce and give effect to the decision of the Supreme Court. Section 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution:
“(1) 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,” he said.
He continued: “Since he already admitted that the matter is subjudice, the President should not have proceeded to vary the order of the Supreme Court.
“The president and indeed the executive should not give the impression that citizens can brazenly disregard lawful orders of any court, as that will only encourage anarchy and lawlessness.
“It amounts to executive rascality and brazen disregard and contempt of the Supreme Court, for the President to separate the denomination of the old notes for legality. It is not open to the President to choose which portion of the order of the Supreme Court that will be obeyed.
“The President should reverse his directive and add the N500 and N1000 old notes, failing which the Supreme Court should overrule the directive of the President on February 22 when the case comes up.”