Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Thursday broadcast gave no hope of alleviating the hardship Nigerians face due to the naira crisis.
The human right activist said this in a statement he signed on Thursday responding to the President’s national broadcast.
According to Falana, Buhari’s decision to allow only the N200 note in circulation and keep the old N500 and N1000 notes out of circulation is not enough to end the crisis, saying that there are not enough old 200 naira notes to replace all the old N1,000 and N500 notes.
Noting that the “crisis” was created by the government, Falana said it is only the government that can end it. He said that unless firm action is taken, “this crisis will get worse in the days to come.”
The Senior Advocate also said that the decision of the President to exclude old N500 and N1000 notes from the legal tender is of no legal effect as it constitutes a contravention of section 287(1) of the Constitution.
Falana urged the Federal Government to comply with the judgment of the Supreme Court which ordered that the old notes remain legal tender without any further delay.
“The suffering of the Nigerian people is getting worse by the day. President Buhari in his message to the nation gave no hope that this suffering will end anytime soon. We need action now to reverse the fuel price increases and to make money available again. Our suffering cannot continue – we cannot live like this.
“After 13 days (rather than seven) President Buhari eventually announced a decision this morning. But it is not enough to end the crisis. There are not enough old 200 naira notes to replace all the old N1,000 and N500 notes. In addition, the new deadline of 10th of April is too close.
“The government could end this crisis in a matter of days. The CBN could issue old currency notes to the banks to issue to the public in a matter of days. That is all that is needed to end the crisis. The untold crisis across the country, the misery, suffering and deaths are a result of a fight between different clans of the corrupt elite. The common people are suffering as a result of disputes over who will loot for the next four years or more.”
Falana mentioned that unless the government to take swift steps to solve the issue, it is likely to develop into a full-blown pandemonium.
“Unless firm action is taken, this crisis will get worse in the days to come. The suffering and anger is likely to make violence around the election worse. Then we still have to suffer the Buhari Government for at least another three months. Any alternative to this will only make the situation worse.”
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