Lawyers threaten to sue CBN over N5000 note

Lawyers, under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Friday referred to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to introduce the N5000 currency note as a shallow, poorly thought out, hare – brained initiative which will devalue the Naira, diminish the lives of Nigerians and push corruption and money laundering to new heights.

The lawyers’ position was contained in a communique issued by the NBA at the close of its 52nd annual general conference in Abuja.

The association rejected the argument of the CBN that the introduction of the N5000 note will not promote inflation noting that the realities of the Nigerian economic situation cannot be found in the Western Business Models that the CBN officials are familiar with.

The NBA observed that Nigerians may well see a N10, 000 or N20, 000 notes very soon.

The lawyers argued that such a measure which will affect the lives of Nigerians in many ways is not a mere fiscal measure which the CBN can claim exclusive jurisdiction over saying that the issue is a legislative matter that is within the sole legislative province of the National Assembly.

“Such far reaching fiscal or currency measures are beyond the competence or purview of the CBN,” the communique said.

The NBA also noted that the CBN is not the 4th arm of government for there is no such term in Nigeria and advised the apex bank to submit the measure for legislative approval which the National Assembly is expected to consider in line with the wishes of majority of Nigerians and threatens to drag the bank to court if it persists to negatively alter the face of the Nigerian economy.

While commending the Nigerian Senate for its “stay action” order on introduction of the N5000 note, the NBA called “for the investment of the billions of Naira that will be expended on the unnecessary currency manipulation on the revamping of the security apparatus and on strong and effective anti-corruption battles.”

On the state of insecurity in Nigeria, the NBA said that insecurity remains the bane of national development and resolves that good governance is the antidote to the prevailing climate of insecurity. It further noted that given the helplessness of government and security agencies in curbing escalating crime and criminality, that there is urgent need for state and community police to reflect the realities of our federalism.

The association resolved to rededicate itself to continued fearless advocacy in the cause of the Rule of Law, Due Process and Social Justice, in particular towards the underprivileged and deprived.

It also insisted that “henceforth, judicial vacancies be advertised so that qualified legal practitioners may apply as opposed to the current disgusting situation whereby cronies, relatives and adopted sons and daughters of a select few are appointed to the exclusion of otherwise meritorious candidates and corrosion of an effective justice delivery sectors.”

The new executives of the association led by the President, Okechukwu Wali, were sworn in, thus marking the end of the Joseph Bodunrin Daudu’s era.