Falana said if the Federal Government was serious, it could have ended the naira crisis in a few days.
Human rights activist, Femi Falana, has questioned President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to end the validity of the N1,000 and N500 old notes despite the suffering Nigerians have been subjected to in the past couple of weeks.
Recall the President, in a national broadcast on the morning of Thursday, February 16, 2023, had said the old N200 notes will be recirculated until April 10, 2023 in order to ease the cash crunch.
This is despite Supreme Court’s order last week prohibiting the Federal Government from implementing the February 10, deadline set for the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to stop being legal tender.
Reacting to the development, Falana argued that the old N200 notes are not enough to plug the supply hole created by the withdrawal of over N2trn from circulation.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stated this in a statement on Thursday, adding that Buhari’s address to Nigerians didn’t do anything to assuage the suffering of the masses.
Falana’s words: “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.
“If the government was serious, the crisis could be ended in a few days. All the old currency notes could be made legal tender until the end of the year. In addition, all the old currency could be changed at the banks as well as at the CBN until the end of next year. This would give confidence back in the markets and the old currency would again be accepted.
“The problem is that the corrupt elite thinks that increased suffering and deaths of the common people is a price worth paying if they defeat their opponents. Hungry people can no longer buy food and so they are in more danger of dying from common diseases. People cannot afford to travel to hospital. If they get there, they cannot afford tests. If they take the tests, they cannot afford the medicine.
“This crisis was created by the government. It is only the government that can end the crisis. 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.
“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.”