The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday faulted the decision of the Federal Government to disregard the Supreme Court order on the issue of currency swap.
In the same vein, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Thursday, accused Buhari of undermining the Supreme Court.
Wike said Buhari’s broadcast insisting that the old N500 and N1000 note have ceased to be a legal tender was tantamount to interference with pending lawsuit in the Supreme Court.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement he personally signed in Abuja, said though the president’s directive was a step in the right direction, the federal government could not afford situations that “suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law.”
“This morning, President Muhammadu Buhari, announced that he has authorised the CBN to reintroduce the old N200 notes into circulation, pending when the bank can make sufficient amounts of the new currency available. This is a step in the right direction, and I hope it helps curb Nigerians’ suffering.
“However, the decision still falls short of the order of the Supreme Court that the old currencies remain legal tender pending the adjudication of a pending suit brought by state governments on the legality of the policy and its implementation.
“It is not to the benefit of our country for the federal government to act in ways that suggest a wanton disregard for the rule of law. It will be better for us to strictly adhere to the court’s order in this matter pending the adjudication of the substantive suit. “For the sake of our country, we must work together to resist actions that escalate tensions and endanger our democracy at this crucial moment of national awakening and rebirth. In all things, let the well-being of our fellow citizens and the survival of our nation be foremost in our hearts and guide all the decisions we make in this historic moment.”
Bemoaning the current situation in the country, Gbajabiamila said, “citizens and visitors are experiencing grave and unnecessary hardship across our country. They spend hours and days queuing at banks and teller machines to receive stipends of their own money to afford life’s necessities.
“This situation is a consequence of the flawed implementation of the naira redesign policy by the CBN.”
Meanwhile, Wike, who spoke during a media chat in Port Harcourt, stressed that the president’s directive to the CBN to reintroduce only the old N200 note into the economy was an affront on the Supreme Court.
The Rivers State governor expressed dismay that the president who ideally should be the epitome of rule to law, regrettably took deliberate steps to undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court, whose interim injunction on the naira swap matter was still subsisting.
“As far as i am concerned, this is a complete interference, which is not good for our democracy.”
The governor said it was hypocritical for the federal government to propose out of court settlement with aggrieved states, while at the same time undermining the outcome of the pending suit in Supreme Court.
“The issue of N200 in circulation is neither here nor there. If they had pulled out of court, then the president could come in. Having not pulled out of court and the interim order still subsists, we should obey it to the latter.”
He maintained that the federal government claim that the naira redesign policy would curb corruption and vote-buying was not tenable. According to him, the timing of the naira swap policy smacks of politics.
“So, we must consider issue of timing. Some people may say it is good to help fight corruption. I don’t believe so. As far as I am concerned, I believe that this policy is targeted at some people. I may not be wrong,” he added.
Wike said he cannot fathom how a policy which the federal government claimed was intended to help the Nigerian economy, turned out to be its albatross