• Falana gives CBN seven-day ultimatum, demands details of new naira notes distribution
• Bayelsa governor urges calm over cash crunch • CSOs asks Buhari to uphold rule of law
• El-Rufai has advanced on his treasonable trajectory, says Osuntokun
Ahead of tomorrow’s Supreme Court sitting on the suit filed by governors against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) currency swap, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is not leaving anything to chance in enforcing the apex court’s order over the controversial naira swap policy.
Yesterday, the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, held a crucial closed-door meeting at the secretariat of the party in Abuja with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), alongside the three aggrieved APC governors who sued the Federal Government to challenge the February 15 deadline on usage of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes – Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).
The meeting is coming on the heels of Sunday’s meeting of APC leadership with the Progressive Governors’ Forum where they called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the AGF and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to respect the order of the Supreme Court on the naira redesign policy.
The meeting, which started at 3:35p.m. took a little over an hour before all the relevant parties, departed.Efforts to get them to address the media proved abortive as they left without discussing or giving a hint on the agenda of their meeting. Malami declined to speak to reporters just as efforts to reach any of the governors met a brick wall. Adamu, who saw them off, simply said: “We are on the same page, there is nothing to say for now.”
“They won’t tell you anything. The national chairman has told them to ignore you people,” a source at the secretariat said.
RIGHTS activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has written to CBN, demanding details of the amount of new naira notes distributed to commercial banks across the country.He also demanded that CBN should provide the list of customers who have withdrawn more than the N100,000 maximum sum approved by the apex bank.
CBN has maintained that it printed enough new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to go round, blaming politicians for hoarding the new notes. However, in a letter from Falana Chambers, signed by Femi Adedeji, Falana demanded that the CBN should provide details of how the new notes were disbursed to commercial banks. He further threatened to take legal action if CBN failed to provide the information in seven days.
MEANWHILE, Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, has sued for calm following the raging controversy over the redesign of the currency notes.
Diri maintained that it is within the rights of the government at the centre to implement the policy and urged it to take practical steps to reduce the pains being experienced by Nigerians.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as having spoken during the 22nd state security council meeting in government House, Yenagoa, yesterday.
He lauded the people of the state for not resorting to illegal means of resolving the issues, expressing optimism that the challenges being faced as a result of the policy will soon be over. His words: “We are all aware that by Saturday elections will commence. Our state has been safe and I like it to continue.
“All of us should join hands with the security agencies, give information to ensure our state remains safe. Let me commend service commanders for ensuring our state is safe.
“We are all currently undergoing difficulty caused by some policies of the Government. The pain is time-bound but the policy has its advantages.
“Currency redesigning is an exclusive matter for the Federal Government. All we can do is to call on the Federal Government to reduce the impact on the people. I appeal to all Bayelsans to keep the peace. We have no other state of our own.”
THE Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has virtually declared the Republic of Kaduna State and has continued to advance on his treasonable trajectory without being called to order, the Labour Party has observed.
The party also said that if el-Rufai had responded with same measure of alacrity he has demonstrated on the naira swap controversy to deal with the inter-ethnic sectarian crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in his state, would have been averted.
The Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, Balogun Akin Osuntokun, said this while briefing the media in Abuja yesterday.
According to Osuntokun, in a speech titled ‘The Audacity of Duplicity’, since the infamous pronouncement of the Emilokan principle of the APC standard bearer, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria has been subjected to the full measure of utter selfishness and duplicity inherent in this concept. Leading the pack are the presidential candidate and his roaring proxy, Governor el-Rufai.”
Speaking about el-Rufai’s insistence on using old currency even when the Federal Government had ordered new monetary policy, Osuntokun said: “If you have a President who violated the Constitution, what you do is initiate impeachment proceedings at the National Assembly, not embark on internal insurrection and rebellion.
“We urge the Nigerian public to shine their eyes very well and not allow themselves to be used as cannon fodders by duplicitous politicians, lest they become unwitting victims of sham populism and rank opportunism. Here is a refresher of the hew from which the Kaduna governor is cut.”
MEANWHILE, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), on Monday, called on President Buhari, to uphold the rule of law order on the CBN naira redesign policy. They said the Federal Government must listen to the voice of the people.
The Director, Praxis Centre, Mr Jaye Gaskia, disclosed this in Abuja, on behalf of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and other partners at a news conference. He said the combined effect of the policy has been amplified hardships on the citizens.
In his remarks, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said that citizens and businesses must have unfettered access to their money, access to cash, and ability to undertake unhindered transactions through both non-digital and digital platforms without further stress.
He said: “The principle of separation of powers must be respected and the FG should respect and uphold the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the old denominations of the Naira that it marked to be phased out as legal tender.
“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.”
The executive director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said: “It is horrifying that instead of responding to the cries of the people in the face of government induced of deprivations, pains and despair the oppressive machinery of the state was unleashed on protesting citizens, resulting in avoidable killings.
“Government must take responsibility for deploying actions that lead citizens into discomfort and force them to come out in protest.”
BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.
The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.
Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.
Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS
Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.
The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.
“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.
“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.
“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.
“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”
It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.
It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.
Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission
The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.
The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.
Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.
But in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.
In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:
“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”
Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.
In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri, said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.
“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”