APC Applies Pressure On AGF Over S’Court Order

...Falana gives CBN seven-day ultimatum, demands details of new naira notes distribution

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Ahead of tomorrow’s Supreme Court sitting on the suit filed by governors against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) currency swap, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is not leaving anything to chance in enforcing the apex court’s order over the controversial naira swap policy.

Yesterday, the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, held a crucial closed-door meeting at the secretariat of the party in Abuja with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), alongside the three aggrieved APC governors who sued the Federal Government to challenge the February 15 deadline on usage of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes – Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).

The meeting is coming on the heels of Sunday’s meeting of APC leadership with the Progressive Governors’ Forum where they called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the AGF and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to respect the order of the Supreme Court on the naira redesign policy.

The meeting, which started at 3:35p.m. took a little over an hour before all the relevant parties, departed.Efforts to get them to address the media proved abortive as they left without discussing or giving a hint on the agenda of their meeting. Malami declined to speak to reporters just as efforts to reach any of the governors met a brick wall. Adamu, who saw them off, simply said: “We are on the same page, there is nothing to say for now.”

“They won’t tell you anything. The national chairman has told them to ignore you people,” a source at the secretariat said.

RIGHTS activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has written to CBN, demanding details of the amount of new naira notes distributed to commercial banks across the country.He also demanded that CBN should provide the list of customers who have withdrawn more than the N100,000 maximum sum approved by the apex bank.

CBN has maintained that it printed enough new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to go round, blaming politicians for hoarding the new notes. However, in a letter from Falana Chambers, signed by Femi Adedeji, Falana demanded that the CBN should provide details of how the new notes were disbursed to commercial banks. He further threatened to take legal action if CBN failed to provide the information in seven days.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, has sued for calm following the raging controversy over the redesign of the currency notes.
Diri maintained that it is within the rights of the government at the centre to implement the policy and urged it to take practical steps to reduce the pains being experienced by Nigerians.

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as having spoken during the 22nd state security council meeting in government House, Yenagoa, yesterday.

He lauded the people of the state for not resorting to illegal means of resolving the issues, expressing optimism that the challenges being faced as a result of the policy will soon be over. His words: “We are all aware that by Saturday elections will commence. Our state has been safe and I like it to continue.

“All of us should join hands with the security agencies, give information to ensure our state remains safe. Let me commend service commanders for ensuring our state is safe.

“We are all currently undergoing difficulty caused by some policies of the Government. The pain is time-bound but the policy has its advantages.

“Currency redesigning is an exclusive matter for the Federal Government. All we can do is to call on the Federal Government to reduce the impact on the people. I appeal to all Bayelsans to keep the peace. We have no other state of our own.”

The Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has virtually declared the Republic of Kaduna State and has continued to advance on his treasonable trajectory without being called to order, the Labour Party has observed.

The party also said that if el-Rufai had responded with same measure of alacrity he has demonstrated on the naira swap controversy to deal with the inter-ethnic sectarian crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in his state, would have been averted.

The Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, Balogun Akin Osuntokun, said this while briefing the media in Abuja yesterday.

According to Osuntokun, in a speech titled ‘The Audacity of Duplicity’, since the infamous pronouncement of the Emilokan principle of the APC standard bearer, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria has been subjected to the full measure of utter selfishness and duplicity inherent in this concept. Leading the pack are the presidential candidate and his roaring proxy, Governor el-Rufai.”

Speaking about el-Rufai’s insistence on using old currency even when the Federal Government had ordered new monetary policy, Osuntokun said: “If you have a President who violated the Constitution, what you do is initiate impeachment proceedings at the National Assembly, not embark on internal insurrection and rebellion.

“We urge the Nigerian public to shine their eyes very well and not allow themselves to be used as cannon fodders by duplicitous politicians, lest they become unwitting victims of sham populism and rank opportunism. Here is a refresher of the hew from which the Kaduna governor is cut.”

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), on Monday, called on President Buhari, to uphold the rule of law order on the CBN naira redesign policy. They said the Federal Government must listen to the voice of the people.

The Director, Praxis Centre, Mr Jaye Gaskia, disclosed this in Abuja, on behalf of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and other partners at a news conference. He said the combined effect of the policy has been amplified hardships on the citizens.

In his remarks, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said that citizens and businesses must have unfettered access to their money, access to cash, and ability to undertake unhindered transactions through both non-digital and digital platforms without further stress.

He said: “The principle of separation of powers must be respected and the FG should respect and uphold the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the old denominations of the Naira that it marked to be phased out as legal tender.

“It must also, in particular, make the lower denominations of the Naira available for the operations and convenience of citizens in the informal sector and small business operators who, by acts of omission of the FGN and CBN, have become the primary victims of the assumed well-intended Naira redesign exercise.”

The executive director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said: “It is horrifying that instead of responding to the cries of the people in the face of government induced of deprivations, pains and despair the oppressive machinery of the state was unleashed on protesting citizens, resulting in avoidable killings.

“Government must take responsibility for deploying actions that lead citizens into discomfort and force them to come out in protest.”

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