Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of showing contempt for the country’s judiciary by declaring that only the old N200 banknote is still valid, while the old N500 and N1,000 notes are no longer acceptable.
Adegboruwa, who is both a lawyer and an activist, argued that the President does not have the power to overrule the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and his announcement amounts to a violation of the court’s authority.
As per a report by BIZTELLERS, ten state governors, including those of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Katsina, Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, and Sokoto, have taken legal action against the Federal Government, challenging the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The policy involves introducing new banknotes of N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations while declaring the old notes invalid from February 10, 2023. The governors have approached the Supreme Court in this regard, and the court has now adjourned the case until February 22, 2023.
In a nationwide address on Thursday morning, President Buhari declared that the old N200 banknote will continue to be accepted as legal tender until April 10, 2023. However, the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes will no longer be recognized as valid currency.
In response to the President’s announcement on Thursday, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa issued a statement criticizing the President for overstepping the bounds of his authority and disregarding the principle of the separation of powers.
He said, “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.”
Adegoruwa added that the president’s broadcast is “sad for our democracy. 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.
“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 in on February 22 when the case comes up.”