Human Rights Activist and Legal Practitioner, Inibehe Effiong, has described the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Naira Redesign Judgment by the Supreme Court as concerning.
Mr Effiong who was speaking to TVC News Breakfast on the issue said it is quite concerning since the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has stated that the judgment or decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria is final in all matters without prejudice to the powers of the President or any other authority whatsoever.
He added that the certified True Copy of the Judgment of the Supreme Court should have been served on the Attorney General of the Federation who will in turn notify the Central Bank of Nigeria as the Chief Law officer of the Federation.
Commercial Banks according to him will be hesitant to comply with the judgment without any sort of communication or clearance from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said their is no alternative to the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on every Nigerian and should be complied with.
He added that he was at a loss as to why the Federal Government of Nigeria has not made a pronouncement on compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He also said the antecedents of the Buhari administration on issues affecting the judiciary and its compliance with Court orders also show that it is no surprise that the government has maintained an uncomfortable silence on the matter.
On why it took longer than necessary for the Supreme Court to deliver its judgment on the matter, Mr Effiong said the issue of joining of States for and against the suit created the delay on the technical level while the Other aspect is that he Supreme Court has granted an interim ruling that says both notes should remain in circulation.
Going further, he disclosed that the Federal Government was already in contempt of Court with a motion from Kaduna State asking the Court to hold the Federal Government in contempt of Court also adding to the delay.
He added that the policy as envisaged by President Buhari succeeded in reducing vote buying to the barest minimum.
According to him, for the first time in his adult voting life there was nobody sharing money in his polling unit with no money to even buy essential food items making it almost impossible for any vote buying to happen.
On the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to curb vote buying, he said the commission is simply unserious at doing its job.
He said the Central Bank of Nigeria has the records of what they gave out to banks as new currency and all the EFCC needed to do was to just check the records and go for the culprits.
He urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to ensure the people caught with Dollars and a lot of Money running into Millions of the new notes during the Election period so that Nigerians can be convinced that the Naira Redesign and Currency Swap Policy was pursued in good faith.
He said the argument by many that the President should be held in contempt is practically and legally impossible with the immunity clause that covers the President, Vice President, Governors and their deputies.
He dismissed the argument that the Policy will help in the long run asking if the Naira Redesign will be put in place every 4 years to stop Vote buying.
He called for the implementation of the section in the Electoral Act which prescribes punishment for Vote Buying and Other Electoral Malpractice.
He said an institutional way of addressing Vote buying is the way to go not what is being done right now.