APC Governors have urged President Buhari, AGF, and CBN to obey the supreme court.
NewsOnline reports that state governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday rose from a meeting with national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari must comply with the order of the Supreme Court suspending the deadline for the naira swap policy.
They also asked the attorney general of the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele to obey the order of the highest court in the land.
Presidential candidate of the governing party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also joined Adamu and the governors at the meeting which lasted for about five hours at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
ALSO: EFCC, ICPC Probe Depositors Of Old Naira at CBN Branch
The apex court had granted the order of interim injunction suspending CBN’s February 10 deadline for the new N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to replace the old ones as legal tender.
But the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, maintained his ground on the deadline.
Backing the CBN, President Buhari last Thursday in a live broadcast announced that only the old N200 notes will circulate with other new denominations for only 60 days.
The president’s decision sparked outrage, with more state governors joining their colleagues as plaintiffs in the suit filed before the Supreme Court challenging the CBN’s Naira policy, even as one minister, Festus Keyamo (SAN), kicked against the decision.
The APC governors yesterday got the backing of their party leadership against their party leader Buhari, just as they all insisted vehemently that the order of the apex court order must be obeyed.
The governors who attended the meeting with Adamu and Tinubu are governors of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai; Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa); Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Mai Mala Buni (Yobe); Yayaya Bello (Kogi); Mohammed Bello (Niger); Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe); Biodun Oyebanjo (Ekiti); Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa); Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), and the deputy governors of Imo State, Placid Njoku, and Mohammed Manir Yakubu of Katsina State.
Speaking with journalists immediately after the meeting, national chairman of the party said it was agreed among the governors that the Naira swap policy and its implementation have caused untold hardship for Nigerians and great difficulty to the nation’s economy.
He said I’m sure you are quite aware of the fact that a meeting comprising APC governors were held today and the leadership of the NWC of our great party was summoned this afternoon. We had a discussion and at the end of the discussion, we have resolved as follows, this resolution is without prejudice or whatsoever to the case that is lying at the Supreme Court at this point in time. This has to do with the issue of currency redesign.
“We note very seriously that the programme and its implementation is causing tremendous difficulties to the people of Nigeria and to the national economy.
“that we urge the Attorney General of the Federation and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to respect the Supreme Court order of Interim injunction which is still subsisting.
“That the meeting is urging his Excellency, Mr President, to intervene in resolving issues that are causing this great difficulty to the economy.”
Adamu further noted that the APC and its leadership were on the same page with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
On his part, the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, corroborated Adamu’s position that the governors and the party were on the same page.
He said, “Once the chairman has spoken, the governors and the party are one and the same. And I am very proud about the conduct of our campaign by our presidential candidate.
“Director general of the campaign and, indeed, governors and the candidates across the country have been doing a tremendous job of mobilizing the Nigerian populace and we are very, very impressed with the support of the majority of Nigeria.”
Earlier in his opening speech at the meeting with the APC governors, Adamu said recent developments necessitated the need for the invitation he extended to the APC governors.
According to the national chairman, the essence of the meeting was not to sit in judgment against anyone with regards to the happenings in the country, even as it affects the ruling party.
He stated: “I am happy with the response so far and it is my understanding that more of our members are still on their way coming. You would recall the recent developments that have necessitated the need for this invitation.
“We do not want to sit in judgment or anybody in regard to where we are today in the country as it affects our great party.
“I thought the best thing to do is to get all those who are holding forth in their respective positions and who were elected on the platform of the party to get together and have some interaction so that we can have a better or a better understanding of what situation we are in.
“That is the essence of this invitation. And it is my pleasure to welcome you most sincerely to this interaction.”
PMB In A Video, Vows To End Current Hardship
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sent a message home from Addis Ababa, saying he is fully aware of hardship some policies of government, “which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country” have caused.
He appealed to Nigerians for further patience, as the government takes appropriate measures to ease them.
In a video recording to shore up support for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, in next Saturday’s elections, the president who thanked Nigerians for electing him to be president for two terms urged them to vote for the APC flag bearer because “he is reliable and I know he will build on our achievements.”
In the campaign message to voters, Buhari specifically put a call on “traditional rulers, religious leaders and parents to warn their followers and wards alike, to not allow themselves to be used by a few to foment trouble.”
A statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, quoted the president as saying: “I want to assure you that the Government has taken adequate security measures to allow everyone to come out and cast their votes. I am therefore appealing to everyone to give them the necessary support.
“Fellow Nigerians, I want to use this opportunity to once again thank you for electing me to be your President on two occasions.
“I am not a contestant in this election, but my party, the All Progressives Congress, has a candidate in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As I mentioned before, Tinubu is a true believer in Nigeria, who loves the people and the development of our country.
“I am calling on all of you to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is reliable and I trust he will build on our achievements.
“Finally, I want to once again assure you that I am fully aware of the current hardship you are facing as a result of some policies of the government which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country.
“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.”
Buhari emphasised that the APC presidential candidate has demonstrated his commitment to the development of the country and the well-being of its people.
Kaduna Govt Places Security On High Alert
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State government yesterday placed security agencies on high alert, directing them to decisively uphold law and order.
The state government said it received credible intelligence reports of plans by various groups to deliberately disrupt public peace, by organizing street protests.
In a statement issued by the state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, the state government said it will continue to empathize with citizens who have been placed in untold distress as a result of the CBN cash swap policy.
The statement said residents must shun the baitings of mischievous groups hoping to ride on these hardships and incite violence.
Aruwan urged citizens to maintain calm, and to remain peaceful and law-abiding as they prepare to exercise their civic franchise in an atmosphere free of all forms of threat.
The statement read: “The Kaduna State Government hereby reminds citizens that such protests remain strictly prohibited. Citizens are strongly advised to avoid all actions remotely capable of inciting a breakdown of law and order.
“The government of Kaduna State, and other concerned state governments, are deploying the full instrumentality of the law to attain a proper resolution, and thus bring relief to citizens”
“Government is also studying options for addressing challenges being faced by citizens with regard to transport to their places of work.
“Any resort to unruly or violent conduct is illegal and against the public interest which values law and order.
“Security agencies have been placed on high alert and have been directed by the Government to decisively uphold law and order” the statement said.
3 Killed Over Rejection Of Old Naira Notes In Akwa Ibom
Meanwhile, three persons were killed at the weekend as the prevailing tension generated over the new currency policy snowballed into violent protests in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, and Oron local government area, where three banks were also attacked.
The violence, our correspondent gathered, spread since Friday to Hausa/Fulani community popularly called ‘Nasarawa’ at Mbak Itam 2, in the neighbouring Itam local government area.
Three persons were reportedly killed over disagreement between a Hausa/Fulani traders and some customers trying to buy foodstuffs with old naira notes.
An eye witness, Edem Murphy, an indigene of the neighbouring Afaha Oku village in Uyo, said trouble started when the people, who could no longer deposit their old notes in the banks after the deadline, trooped to the Hausa/Fulani location, upon hearing they still collect the old currency to sell their food items.
He said, “What happened was that many people are still with the old notes after deadline, when people had since stopped collecting the old N500 and N1,000, following the final announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari, that only the old N200 should still serve as legal tender.
“So, such people trooped to ‘Nasarawa’ to use their old outdated notes to buy foodstuffs from the Hausa traders. The deal was that whatever you are buying at any quantity, you would not get any balance refund after payment, and the people accepted.
“But what led to the trouble which degenerated into killings and burning of the Hausa/Fulani settlement started with a minor disagreement by a customer, who was accused by the Hausa trader of not paying after getting his measure of grains and other items. A fight ensued and hoodlums hijacked the scuffle to become a free-for-all.”
Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, the leader of the Hausa/Fulani community in the state, Alhaji Hassan Sadauki, confirmed the incident, saying relative calm has returned following the intervention of security operatives from the nearby Itam division of the state Police Command.
He, therefore, enjoined his people to remain calm as efforts were on to calm frayed nerves in order to sustain the prevailing peace and harmonious relationship that has existed for years between non indigenes and the host community.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Odiko Macdon, could not be reached, as he could not pick calls to his phone at the time of filling this report.
But a senior Police official attached to Itam Division, confirmed arrest of some suspects in connection with the arson and killings.
SERAP Asks Court To Bar CBN From Enforcing PMB’s Order
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the federal government before a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to stop President Muhammadu Buhari;s directive on the use of old N500 and N1,000 notes.
SERAP is asking the court to determine whether President Buhari’s directive banning the N500 and N1,000 bank notes is not inconsistent and incompatible with the constitutional duties to obey decisions of the Supreme Court and oath of office.
The civil society organisation is also seeking a declaration that the President’s directive banning the use of old N500 and N1,000 banknotes is a fundamental breach of section 287(1) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and his constitutional oath of office, and therefore unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.
SERAP urged the court to grant an interim injunction restraining President Buhari, the CBN and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), their agents or privies from further enforcing the presidential directive banning the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.
The suit, which is yet to be assigned to a judge, was filed on behalf of the organisation by its lawyers Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN).
In an affidavit attached to the suit, SERAP averred that upholding the rule of law is the cornerstone of Nigeria’s constitutional democracy and that President Buhari and other public officials and authorities have a binding legal responsibility to comply with the rule of law and strictly obey the decisions by the Supreme Court and all other courts.
The plaintiff also claimed that the directive to ban the use of N500 and N1000 banknotes, contrary to the interim injunction by the Supreme Court, is ultra vires – beyond the constitutional and legitimate powers of President Buhari and the government.
SERAP also wants the court to hold that President Buhari’s directive undermines the authority and independence of the judiciary, which is an underlying constitutional principle, intended to ensure that government is conducted according to law and to prevent the arbitrary exercise of powers or discretion by public officials and authorities.
The plaintiff insisted that an order of court must be obeyed even if such an order is perverse, until such a time that the order is set aside by a competent court.
SERAP noted that a flagrant flouting of an order of the court by the executive is an invitation to anarchy.
It maintained that the rule of law makes all government officials, including the President and other officials, answerable for their acts in the ordinary courts and that the law must apply to everybody; nobody is above the law.