Nigerians who hoped that the nationwide broadcast by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would put an end to the crisis and sufferings engendered by the naira redesign had their hopes dashed on Thursday.
Contrary to these expectations, Buhari’s national broadcast failed to offer any concrete solution to the severe cash shortage, or the pains and sufferings of Nigerians.
Senior lawyers who reviewed the President’s speech and its implications for the recent Supreme Court judgment on the matter also expressed consternation with some arguing that the President’s actions violated the order of the highest court in the land.
The President’s directive came barely 24 hours after the Supreme Court affirmed that its February 8 order restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes still subsisted.
The court had, in its ruling, granted the prayer of the plaintiffs- Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states barring the FG from implementing its demonetisation policy and ending the cash-swap policy on February 10, pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs/applicants’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
However, expressing disappointment, several senior advocates said Buhari’s speech violated the country’s law.
Tayo Oyetibo, one of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who spoke with The PUNCH, said, ‘’The President cannot by executive fiat override, an order of the Supreme Court.
That is the doctrine of separation of powers. You can use executive fiat to subvert the order made by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.’’
Also, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, in a statement on Thursday described the President’s broadcast as executive rascality.
“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.
“It amounts to executive rascality and brazen disregard and contempt of the Supreme Court, for the President to separate the denomination of the old notes for legality.’’
On his part, Femi Falana, said the President’s decision was not enough to end the crisis.
“The problem is that the corrupt elite think that increased suffering and deaths of the common people are a price worth paying if they defeat their opponents. Hungry people can no longer buy food and so they are in more danger of dying from common diseases,’’ Falana stated.
Berating the President, Victor Opara SAN, stated, “If we allow this to go, it will mean a precedent of the gazette. It will mean the court will make a decision and the executive will torpedo it.
He warned that Buhari’s decision would scare foreign investors from the country.