ACF warns Buhari, says don’t stoke nationwide unrest with naira policy
Northern leaders, under the umbrella of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), have cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) naira redesign policy.
They said Federal Government’s refusal to abide by Supreme Court judgment on continued use of old naira notes has brought severe hardship on Nigerians and may lead to social unrest.
“Whatever the CBN or anyone else may say about the benefits of the policy, which evidently are many, it is of little comfort as soon as the highest court in the country has deemed that it is, or, at least, the manner of its implementation, breaches the law,” ACF said.
Secretary General of the Forum, Murtala Aliyu, who disclosed this, yesterday, said the Federal Government should have complied with the apex court’s ruling and also circulated new naira notes to assuage the sufferings of Nigerians.
According to Aliyu, “10 days is long enough time for the government to find its way towards complying with a court order, which import is central to the achievement of peace, order and good governance in the country.”
He said: “President Buhari is under oath to defend the Constitution of Nigeria. As his long-term supporters, it will be remiss of us if we fail to warn that the much-touted benefits of the naira redesign can never justify the damage to his credentials as a democrat and a stickler for the rule of law.
“This is quite apart from real possibility of the crisis morphing into serious social disorder, leading to possible breakdown of law and order throughout Nigeria. We do not believe or can we advise him to pay such a heavy price on account of a policy, which immediate goals are not entirely clear to majority of Nigerians.”
Aliyu added: “Some 10 days ago, the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that the President breached the Constitution of Nigeria in the way he issued a directive to the CBN for redesign of the naira without consulting the National Council of States and the Federal Executive Council. It went further to rule that the unconstitutional use of powers by the President on the naira redesign has breached the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens in various ways.
“The state governors have persistently argued that the policy, which permitted the CBN to place an embargo on the circulation of old N500 and N1,000 notes, while not providing their replacement in sufficient amounts, triggered severe cash shortage and chaos in the economy.
“It has led to runaway inflation in food and other commodities. Huge crowds and long queues form around bank offices and ATM points across the country, as people struggle to get the new cash which has remained extremely scarce. It has triggered riots and other forms of civil unrest.
“The current approach of the CBN raises concerns about respect for civil liberties and rights of Nigerians as it relates to their freedom to use legitimately earned income as they so wish. They believe that the CBN is, in truth, pursuing a policy of naira confiscation, which would possibly set off crippling depression.”