“It is height of arrogance of power for Mr. Emefiele to treat the ex parte of the Supreme Court with provocative contempt”, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN on Thursday warned Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Falana spoke on the heels of a statement credited to Emefiele that the CBN will not comply with the ex-parte order of the Supreme Court asking CBN to stay further action on the ongoing currency swap pending the hearing of the interlocutory application of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs in the case are the governors of Kaduna, Kogi, and and Zamfara states who asked the Supreme Court to stop the CBN from going ahead with the deadline of February 10 given by the CBN.
Already, the Attorney General of the Federation have already fucked a preliminary objection to the suit.
However, Falana on Thursday reminded Emefiele on two instances where the actions of the Apex court affected him, saying that CBN is duty bound to obey the ex-parte order.
The statement reads:
WHY THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA MUST OBEY THE EX PARTE ORDER OF SUPREME COURT
We have just read a report that the Authorities of the Central Bank of Nigeria have decided not to comply with the ex parte order issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in respect of the avoidable currency swap crisis. The reason adduced for the contemptuous disregard for the rule of law is that the Central Bank of Nigeria is not a party to the case of Attorney-General of Kaduna State & 2 Ors. v. Attorney-General of the Federation (Suit No: SC/CV/162/2023) pending at the Supreme Court.
It is pertinent to remind the Management of the Central Bank of the case of Nkwo Augustine Eddiego v. Board of Central Bank of Nigeria (Suit No: HCIK/38/2022), where the Delta State High Court granted an ex parte order which restrained the Defendants from preventing the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from seeking political offices pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice in the case. Even though Mr. Emefiele was not a party to the suit he took advantage of the ex parte order to join the APC to contest the presidential primary of the APC before he was stopped by President Buhari.
Similarly, in the case of Incorporated Trustees of the Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership v. Attorney-General of the Federation & Ors. (Suit No: FCT/HC/GAR/CV/41/2022) the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory granted an injunction restraining the State Security Services from arresting, investigating and prosecuting Mr. Emefiele for terrorism financing. Although he was not a party to the suit Mr. Emefiele has not been arrested by the State Security Services on the basis of the court order.
Therefore, it is height of arrogance of power for Mr. Emefiele to treat the ex parte of the Supreme Court with provocative contempt. In view of the looming anarchy in the country we are compelled to draw the attention of the Central Bank Management of the rule of law to the case of Attorney-General of Lagos State v. Attorney-General of the Federation (2005) 2 WRN 1 at 109 where Tobi JSC of blessed memory cautioned all authorities and persons in Nigeria thus:
“In a society where the rule of law prevails, self-help is not available to the executive or any arm of government. In view of the fact that such a conduct could breed anarchy and totalitarianism, and since anarchy and totalitarianism are antitheses to democracy, courts operating the rule of law, the life-blood of democracy, are under a constitutional duty to stand against such action. The courts are available to accommodate all sorts of grievances that are justiciable in law and section 6 of the Constitution gives the courts power to adjudicate on matters between two or more competing parties. In our democracy all the governments of this country as well as organizations and individuals must kowtow to the due process of the law and this they can vindicate by resorting to the courts for redress in the event of any grievance.”
It is public knowledge that the Federal Government has filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear and determine the case of the Attorney-General of Kaduna State & 2 Ors v Attorney-General of the Federation (supra). In the interim, the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria are bound by the valid and subsisting ex parte order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria until it is set aside by the same court. The alternative is to compound the ongoing anarchy and chaos in the land.
Femi Falana SAN,
Alliance for Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB)
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