Go after illicit fund traffickers, vote buyers, HEDA challenges CBN, EFCC
• SERAP urges FG, apex bank to obey S’Court ruling on old currencies
Following Friday’s Supreme Court ruling validating use of old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes till December 31,2023, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has charged Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate illicit fund transactions by corrupt politicians and vote buying ahead of this weekend’s governorship elections.
In a statement, yesterday, by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the group observed that circulation of the old notes would defeat ongoing fight against corruption and insurgency.
He said: “With the Supreme Court judgment validating the old notes to be legal tender, CBN and other financial institutions must swing into action and deploy some measures to track counterfeit illicit money flow transactions by corrupt politicians and their allies. “Improved scrutiny should be intensified by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and EFCC to track bank officials, estate managers and Bureaux de Change (BDCs) for suspicious movement of toxic funds within and outside financial institutions.”
Suraju feared that vote buying might be on the high side with the availability of old notes against, adding that the anti-graft agency must sustain efforts at curbing the menace.
BESIDES, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), at the weekend, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to publicise measures by his government to obey the apex court’s judgment, extending validity of the old notes.
It pleaded with the Nigerian leader to publicly instruct CBN to immediately implement the ruling and stop withdrawal limits, insisting that violate citizens’ right to free use of their property.
In a letter dated March 4, 2023 and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said there was an overriding public interest in disclosing details of measures by government and CBN to effectively and satisfactorily obey the decision.
According to the body, disclosing the measures would also enable Nigerians to monitor and scrutinise level of compliance.
It reads: “The public should not be kept in the dark on what your government and the CBN are doing to implement the decision. Widely publishing the implementation measures would also improve accountability of state officials and public confidence in the rule of law and Nigeria’s democracy.
“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 currencies 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 details of the level of compliance by your government and the CBN with the Supreme Court decision as a matter of transparency, justice and rule of law.
“The Nigerian constitution, Freedom of Information Act and human rights treaties, to which the country is a state party, rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their governments’ activities.
“Your government has the legal duties to act as ordered by the Supreme Court, consistent with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, CBN Act and the country’s international obligations.”