As Nigerians continue to groan under the burden of the naira redesign policy, a group of civil society organisations has described the action of some state governors as hypocritical, saying they have never supported Nigerians when it equally mattered.
The group, under the aegis of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, described the suit filed by the states as “pretentious posturing”.
In a statement titled, ‘State of the nation’, the group said, “their taking sides with the people is a carefully organised deception as they have chosen to keep mute in situations of great suffering of the people.
“They have never sided with Nigerians against their continued suffering including collapse of education, healthcare system, insecurity and other terrible living conditions.
“It is convenient for the governors to challenge the President (Major General Muhammadu Buhari, retd.) as their financial interests appear to be threatened and could mar their chances of rigging the elections through vote-buying. Some of their remarks are full of deception and capable of truncating democracy in Nigeria.”
Specifically, they decried the flagrant disregard for the tenet of the separation of power.
They said, “Despite the provision of separation of powers in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to treat the opinions of the legislature in various resolutions of national importance with disdain.
“To make matters worse, the Federal Government has outright refused to, and even countermand, the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the deadline for the status of the old denominations of the Naira as legal tender.
“This separation is meant to check excesses of each arm, guard against dictatorial tendencies through respect for the rule of law and sustenance of democracy. It is tragic that the government has chosen to set a bad example of disrespect for court orders and the rule of law.
“These acts by the Presidency and the Governor of the CBN in flagrantly disobeying the ruling of the Supreme court on the issue of the deadline for the old currency being legal tender amounts not only to a clear and precipitate undermining of the rule of law, but also a wanton disregard for the principles of the separation of powers at the heart of our constitutional democracy.
“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.”
Furthermore, the advocacy groups noted that although the initiators of the policy claim that the new naira policy portends good for electoral transparency, events have proven otherwise.
Challenging the claims by the CBN governor that the disbursed cash to the commercial banks have been mopped up by politicians, the groups demanded that “the CBN publish the amount of the new naira notes disbursed to each commercial bank and the list of persons that collected the billions from the banks.”
The group called out the duplicity of the policymakers, noting that those who they claim to be targeting have been the least impacted by the naira redesign policy.
“The targeted minority of the naira redesign exercise will continue to remain least affected because they have access to other currencies through which they can continue with their legitimate and illegitimate activities, including the targeted aim against the culture of vote buying during elections,” it said.
They implored all Nigerians to maintain the peace, adding that, “the right to peaceful assembly and protest should not be an excuse for the destruction of public or private property or the abuse of the fundamental rights of other citizens by protesters.”