As a Civil Society Organization, we sincerely align ourselves to the position of Prof. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu and others when they asserted that Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are committing Treason against Nigeria’s sovereignty.
Nigeria, being a sovereign nation, has the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as its grundnorm, specifying in clear and unambiguous terms how Nigeria should be governed.
The 1999 Constitution assigns different roles to the three tiers of government, namely: the Federal Government, State Government, and Local Government.
By the express provision of Section 4(2) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly shall have the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive list set out in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution, while Section 5(1)(a-b) of the Constitution donates the Executive Powers to the President and the President shall exercise the laws made by the National Assembly and shall extend his powers to the execution and maintenance of the Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with which the National Assembly has the power to make laws.
To make the powers of the President clearer, Section 130(1) of the Constitution provides thus: “There shall be for the Federation a President” and Section 130(2) provides that “The President shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation”.
Having set the background, let us take a cursory look at paragraphs 6 and 15 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, which are items in the Exclusive list and as has been demonstrated above, it is the President, not the State Governors, that has the exclusive powers to execute items in the Exclusive list.
The items in paragraph 6 of the Exclusive are banks, banking bills of exchange, and promissory notes, while the items in paragraph 15 of the Exclusive list are: Currency, Coinage and Legal Tender.
It is also very clear from the above-cited provisions of the Constitution that it is incumbent upon the President to execute all other laws enacted by the National Assembly and in this case, the Central Bank of Nigeria Act (CBN Act).
Section 17 of the CBN Act provides that “The Bank shall have the sole right of issuing currency notes and coins throughout Nigeria and neither the Federal Government nor any State Government, Local Government, other person or authority shall issue currency notes, bank notes or coins or any documents or token payable to bearer on demand being document or token which are likely to pass as legal tender”.
Section 19(1)(b) of the CBN Act provides that “The currency notes and coins issued by the Bank shall be of such forms and designs and bear such devices as shall be approved by the President on the recommendation of the Board”.
Section 20(1) of the CBN Act provides that “The currency notes issued by the Bank shall be the legal tender in Nigeria at their face value for payment of any amount” while subsection 3 of section 20 of the Act provides “… the Bank shall have power, if so directed by the President and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this subsection shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be the legal tender, but subject to section 22 of this Act, shall be redeemed by the Bank upon demand”.
From the above provisions of the CBN Act, it is abundantly clear without any equivocation that it is the CBN that has the responsibility and power to issue a Legal Tender for Nigeria and to redesign any denomination of the Legal Tender, fixing of the deadline for cessation of validity of any Legal Tender under the directive of the President pursuant to sections 19()(1b) and 20(3) of the CBN Act.
Arising from the above provisions of the laws, can the Central Bank of Nigeria on its own volition call for Legal Tender redesign and a deadline for the use of the old Legal Tender without the approval of the President? The answer with respect is a capital NO!
How then will the APC GOVERNORS be issuing contrary directives on the use of old Naira Notes when they do not have such powers either donated to them by the 1999 Constitution, the Acts of the National Assembly or even a law from their States Houses of Assembly?
The contrary directives issued by the APC GOVERNORS that the old Naira Notes should continue to be a Legal Tender in their various states when the President had through the CBN issued a directive in that respect are treasonable. The contrary orders from the APC GOVERNORS are not only unconstitutional, unlawful, and illegal but also highly inciteful, thereby aiding the populace to wedge war against the Federation.
The APC GOVERNORS cannot hide under the IMMUNITY CLAUSE as enshrined under section 308 of the 1999 Constitution to be engaging in treasonable activities against the Sovereignty of this nation.
Consequently, the APC GOVERNORS should know that times do not run out against any crime committed against the Federation.
As a Civil Society Organisation, we respectfully call on the security agencies in the country and all international organisations including foreign embassies to take notice of all the treasonable activities of the APC GOVERNORS instigating the citizens of this country through their unguided and inciteful speeches to take up arms against the Federation.
They should be held responsible for all the crises that broke out as a result of their inciteful pronouncements against the policy of NAIRA REDESIGN, which has occasioned wanton destruction of lives and properties across the country.
We also call on all the security agencies to live up to their primary duty of safeguarding lives and properties and ensuring that these APC GOVERNORS do not derail this democratic process of transiting power to other democratically elected persons.
Kalu Kalu Agu Esq, Legal Adviser, Centre for Reform & Advocacy, Abuja, 18th February 2023.
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