SERAP Seeks Order to Upturn Buhari’s Directive on Old Naira Notes
By Adedapo Adesanya
A suit has been filed against President Muhammadu Buhari by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) over “the unlawful directive banning the use of old N500 and N1,000 banknotes, contrary to the interim injunction granted by the Supreme Court that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes remain legal tender.”
Joined in the suit as defendants are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Supreme Court, in a case brought by 10 states, held that the old banknotes remain legal tender pending the determination of a motion on notice fixed for February 22. The deadline for the swap of the old notes expired on February 10.
However, Mr Buhari, in a national broadcast last week, directed the CBN to recirculate only the old N200 banknotes, overruling the Supreme Court and banning the use of old N500 and N1,000 notes in the country.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/233/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja SERAP is asking the court to determine “whether President Buhari’s directive banning the N500 and N1,000 banknotes is not inconsistent and incompatible with the constitutional duties to obey decisions of the Supreme Court and oath of office.”
SERAP is asking the court for “a declaration that President Buhari’s directive banning the use of old N500 and N1,000 banknotes is a fundamental breach of section 287(1) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and his constitutional oath of office, and therefore unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.”
SERAP is seeking “an order of interim injunction restraining President Buhari, the CBN, and Mr Malami, their agents or privies from further enforcing the presidential directive banning the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “Upholding the rule of law is the cornerstone of Nigeria’s constitutional democracy. President Buhari and other public officials and authorities have a binding legal responsibility to strictly comply with the rule of law and obey the decisions by the Supreme Court and all other courts.”
SERAP is also arguing that, “The directive to ban the use of N500 and N1000 banknotes, contrary to the interim injunction by the Supreme Court, is ultra vires – beyond the constitutional and legitimate powers of President Buhari and the government.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), and Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, pointed out that, “President Buhari’s directive undermines the authority and independence of the judiciary, which is an underlying constitutional principle intended to ensure that government is conducted according to law, and to prevent the arbitrary exercise of powers or discretion by public officials and authorities.”
“The rule of law makes all government officials, including the President and other officials, answerable for their acts in the ordinary courts. The law must apply to everybody; nobody is above the law.”
“Section 281(1) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that, ‘the decisions of the Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Supreme Court.”
“Under 318 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution, ‘decision’ means in relation to a court, any determination of that court and includes judgement decree, order, conviction, sentence or recommendation.”
“It is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course or allow the legal and judicial process to run its full course.”
“The directive by President Buhari to ban the use of the old N500 and N1000 banknotes can have no other interpretation than the show of intention to pre-empt the final decision of the Supreme Court in this case.”
“The courts expect the utmost respect of the law from the government itself, which rules by the law,” a part of the suit stated.
SERAP wants an order restraining and stopping the CBN from carrying out and giving effect to the directive of the President directing and approving that the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes are no longer legal tender, and the old N200 banknote will cease to be legal tender on 10 April 2023, in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria made on 8 February, 2023 in Suit Number SC/CV/162/2023– Attorney General of Kaduna State & 2 Ors v. Attorney General of the Federation.”
It also wants an “order mandating the CBN to direct all commercial banks in Nigeria to accept and give out the old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes as legal tender concurrently along with the new banknotes of the same denomination in line with the order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria made on 8 February, 2023 in Suit Number SC/CV/162/2023 – Attorney General of Kaduna State & 2 Ors v. Attorney General of the Federation;
InTouch, GTP to Unlock Financial Inclusion for African Consumers
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A partnership targeted at unlocking financial inclusion for African consumers has been entered between GTP, a specialised provider of prepaid and virtual card processing solutions, and InTouch, a leading pan-African fintech.
This collaboration will commence in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire and expand into the rest of the continent. The goal will be achieved by democratising access to card credentials for millions of African consumers, as it would bridge the gap between digital payment platforms and card-based transactions, giving InTouch customers access to cross-border transactions through Visa credentials.
“With this partnership, we are democratizing access to card payments and enabling international and online payments as well as cash in and cash-outs in our TouchPoint network in Senegal and Ivory Coast and very soon in 16 other African countries.
“Our goal is to offer the simplest and most accessible solutions for digital payments to millions of customers across the African continent,” the founder of InTouch, Omar Cissé, said.
Also, the chief executive of GTP, Christian Bwakira, said, “InTouch is an innovative pan-African payments aggregator that has demonstrated consistent innovation in markets in which it operates.
“By working together, we will unlock the power of card credentials for millions of Africans across the continent and make borders matter less for them in the global digital economy.”
Access to card credentials plays a pivotal role in Africa’s financial ecosystem, opening doors to a wide range of economic opportunities and driving financial inclusion.
Studies currently estimate that 90 per cent of transactions conducted in Africa are still reliant on cash, highlighting the significant gap in digital financial inclusion across the continent.
But McKinsey argues that card-linked digital wallets are already a significant driver of growth in the issuance and usage of cards.
Prepaid cards are decoupled from the traditional banking infrastructure, allowing banks and fintech companies to give more people access to a globally accepted payments method without a need for a traditional bank account.
By partnering with GTP, an MFS Africa company, InTouch aims to democratise access to card credentials for its African customers across its 13 markets. This collaboration will enable users of InTouch’s innovative digital platform, which aggregates over 400 services through its API` to seamlessly link their digital wallets to card credentials, enhancing their access to the global digital economy.
Through the integration of GTP’s robust prepaid and virtual card processing solutions, InTouch users will be able to tap into the advantages of card-based transactions, including wider acceptance, enhanced security, and seamless integration with global payment networks.
Nigeria’s Acute Food Insecurity May Worsen from June— FAO, WFP
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that Nigeria remains among the highest-level countries facing acute food insecurity, which is likely to deteriorate further during the outlook period from June to November 2023.
For the outlook period, FAO and WFP issued an early warning for urgent humanitarian action in 18 hunger hotspots, including two regional clusters comprising a total of 22 countries.
According to the report, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen remain at the highest alert level. Haiti, the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali) and Sudan have been elevated to the highest concern levels; this is due to severe movement restrictions for people and goods in Burkina Faso, Haiti and Mali and the recent outbreak of conflict in Sudan.
All hotspots at the highest level have communities facing or projected to face starvation or are at risk of sliding towards catastrophic conditions, given they already have emergency levels of food insecurity and are facing severe aggravating factors. These hotspots require the most urgent attention, the report warns.
The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Syria are hotspots with very high concern, and the alert is also extended to Myanmar in this edition.
All the above hotspots have a large number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life‑threatening conditions in the coming months. Lebanon has been added to the list of hotspots, joining Malawi and Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) that remain hotspots.
In the hunger hotspots, parts of the population will likely face a significant deterioration of already high levels of acute food insecurity, putting lives and livelihoods at risk. Targeted humanitarian action is urgently needed to save lives and livelihoods in all 18 hunger hotspots.
In eight of these – Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria, the Sahel region (Burkina Faso and Mali), Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan and Yemen – humanitarian action is critical to prevent starvation and death.
Speaking on this, Mr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, said, “Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today’s risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.”
“We need to provide immediate time-sensitive agricultural interventions to pull people from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives, and provide long-term solutions to address the root causes of food insecurity. Investing in disaster risk reduction in the agriculture sector can unlock significant resilience dividends and must be scaled up,” he added.
“Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever,” said Ms Cindy McCain, WFP’s Executive Director.
“This report makes it clear: we must act now to save lives, help people adapt to a changing climate, and ultimately prevent famine. If we don’t, the results will be catastrophic,” she warned.
The report warns of a major risk of El Niño conditions, which meteorologists forecast to emerge by mid-2023 with an 82 per cent probability. The expected shift in climate patterns will have significant implications for several hotspots, including below-average rains in the Dry Corridor of Central America, and raises the spectre of consecutive extreme climatic events hitting areas of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.
Adegoke’s Murder: Court Sentences Ife Hotelier Rahman Adedoyin to Death
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The owner of Hilton Hotel in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Mr Rahman Adedoyin, has been sentenced to death by hanging over the death of a postgraduate student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mr Timothy Adegoke.
Mr Adegoke was murdered in his hotel in 2021 after he lodged in the facility. His corpse was moved away from the hotel and hurriedly buried in the vicinity.
The hotelier was arrested and has arraigned in court.
On Tuesday, according to Vanguard, the Osun State Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Ojo, found Mr Adedoyin culpable in the murder of the deceased.
The judge also found other suspects guilty in the murder of the deceased and dismissed the alibi that the hotel owner was in Abuja for many days around the time the death of the late Adegoke occurred.
But four members of the staff prosecuted alongside Mr Adedoyin were discharged and acquitted of charges against them.
The matter became known to the public after his family raised an alarm that he had been missing after he lodged in the hotel and that efforts to reach him were abortive.
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