A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wahab Shittu has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria is not greater than the constitution binding the country.
Shittu said this in reaction to the ruling of the Supreme Court on Wednesday that temporarily halted the move by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to ban the use of the old naira notes from February 10, 2023.
A seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro halted the federal government plan in a ruling in an exparte application brought by three northern states of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.
The PUNCH reports that the February 10 deadline for the currency swap announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria pitted Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) against 14 political parties which threatened to boycott the February 25 election, should the CBN extend the time limit.
The Abuja High Court in its ruling restrained the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), CBN, its Governor Godwin Emefiele, and 27 commercial banks from suspending, stopping, extending, or interfering with the currency swap terminal date.
There have been arguments that the CBN Act does not provide for the Judiciary to oversight as it would be infringing on the autonomy of the agency.
Shittu posited that the Act of the CBN was subject to the law that guides the country.
He said, “The CBN is a statutory body regulated by the CBN act. It is not above the law. It is also subject to the law and the Supreme Court remains the apex court in the land.”
In response, the senior lawyer commended the Supreme Court for coming to the help of the millions of hapless citizens across the country.
He said, “My view is that the ruling of the Supreme court on the subject of adjudication is salutary and commendable.
“The objective behind the CBN policy may be sound and altruistic, but clearly the manner of implementation has occasioned hardship to the majority of Nigerians particularly those in the rural areas without access to banking services.”
He added, “Government exists to deliver welfare to the people and if this objective is being defeated, it portends grave dangers.”
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