Dele Farotimi, a Public Affairs Analyst and a retired Lawyer has reacted to the Supreme Court ruling against the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on the use of old naira notes.
The apex court judgement annulled the CBN deadline of February 10 as the last date the old notes would be acceptable.
A seven-man panel led by Justice John Okoro in a unanimous ruling on Wednesday ordered that the notes remain in circulation after Friday, stopping the federal government in an exparte application brought by three northern states of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.
Reacting to the development, Farotimi suggested that the CBN ignores the Supreme Court’s ruling through exparte order.
He spoke while fielding questions from journalists during an interview on Arise TV’s morning show on Thursday.
Faratimi said, “The subject is about jurisdiction and jurisdiction goes to the root of any power that the court might care to assume. A case was taken before the Federal High Court on the same subject and the Federal High Court correctly ruled that it had no power. In my own opinion, I am not a practising lawyer.
“Now, when the CBN has acted even outside of its powers, it must necessarily be a party in a suit directed at its action or in action. When you have a situation where a matter such as this one has drawn public attention and we must understand that it is not only the letter of the law, it is the spirit of the law that must be clearly seen to have been observed.
“We have a situation here where the issue has been politicized to the point where the matter has come into the public space. Candidates have been arrogating to themselves some benefits or disadvantages. Somebody had already gone before the Federal High Court, the High Court assumed on the subject. We are now talking about the assumption of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
“The law is clear as to when and where that original jurisdiction is to be assumed. In this case, in my own personal opinion, it has not been assumed.
He added, “The persons who took this before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court itself, had acted most carelessly in this matter because the proper parties, the persons who took this before the Supreme Court, did do it for anything beyond their own political agenda. It is in the public space, carelessly making it clear that they considered the policy to have been radical to their own political interest.
“If you could recall, the governor of Kaduna [El-Rufai] was busy meeting with traders telling them not to worry about changing their notes that when the candidate of his party comes to power, the thing will be reversed. It is up to the Supreme Court to justify what it has done.
“We are a country that pretends to be ruled by law. I believe that the CBN is completely correct, it should ignore this ruling, exparte order, I should say, and I would also say that those who ignored to go to the Court of Appeal and jumped straight up to the wonderful Supreme Court of Nigeria with its many wonderful decisions. The Supremes have become completely wonderful these days and they have their own reasons as well. Time is of the essence if they cannot get the election postponed, if the naira they have stocked at home, is it me and you that have stocked the naira? Don’t be surprised if Malami comes out with his thing.”