Both the federal government and the CBN have made no official move to enforce the order of the supreme court, despite public outrage.
Nigeria’s leading investigative medium, PREMIUM TIMES, has called for the arrest and prosecution of Godwin Emefiele, the central bank governor.
In its Saturday editorial, the outlet reiterated its stand, frowning at the anti-people cash policies imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the watch of Mr Emefiele.
The editorial also berated the CBN for failing to adhere to the ruling of the Supreme Court on the old naira notes. It noted that the cash withdrawal limit imposed by the central bank is an infringement on the rights of the people.
“And most have had to live with a frightening range of infringements since the banknotes swap policy came into effect,” the newspaper stated in the editorial.
“These have ranged from the economic (loss of earnings platforms across the economy’s informal sector), through the emotional (having to beg for cash from friends, family, neighbours and strangers to meet basic needs) to the conceptual (just struggling to make sense of the policy’s design, implementation and expected outcomes).”
A few days before the February 25 general election, President Muhammadu Buhari affirmed the naira swap policy drafted by the CBN against the ruling of the court. Mr Buhari had begged Nigerians for perseverance despite the unholy hardship inspired by his administration’s monetary policy.
The governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara had filed a suit against the federal government at the Supreme Court, seeking an order to invalidate the CBN’s recent move to make old denominations of N200, N500 and N1000 illegal tenders.
A supreme court judge, Emmanuel Agim, had said on the matter that “the rule of law upon which our democratic governance is founded becomes illusory if the President of the country or any authority or person refuses to obey the orders of courts ”
But then, both the federal government and the CBN have made no official move to enforce the order of the supreme court, despite public outrage.
PREMIUM TIMES is, however, now seeking the arrest and prosecution of Mr Emefiele for failing to obey the court and for violating the rights of Nigerian citizens.
“PREMIUM TIMES has made several calls for Mr Emefiele to be relieved of his office,” the newspaper said in the editorial. “These calls were premised on growing doubt as to his fitness for office. If we took the CBN’s main price stability remit as our point of departure, Mr Emefiele’s incompetence is incontrovertible.
“This is as much about the outcomes of his policy, and as the Supreme Court’s ruling points to, as it is about the thoughtlessness that goes into his policy design.
“However, rule breaking is why we would want Mr Emefiele to be arrested and tried. We cannot build a democracy on the back of impunity and illegality. But there is also the charge of economic sabotage. If the first is criminal. The second is treasonous.
“Alas, President Buhari, himself a scofflaw, as noted by the Supreme Court, is neither able nor willing to do right by the country on this matter. This will be the legacy of his eight-year rule. But we cannot continue to allow acts of criminal conduct to define our democracy.”