Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Naira Recolouring: Buhari regime breached Constitution, says Femi Falana

Mr Falana argued that the Constitution requires Mr Buhari to present a Money Bill for the withdrawal of funds that will be used to print the recoloured notes

• December 4, 2022
A composite of Femi Falana, Recoloured notes and President Muhammadu Buhari used to illustrate the story.
A composite of Femi Falana, Recoloured notes and President Muhammadu Buhari used to illustrate the story.

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for failing to propose a money bill to the National Assembly before proceeding with the remaking of the country’s currency.

The senior advocate argued in a statement titled ‘Presidential endorsement not sufficient to legitimise naira redesign’ that the Constitution requires Mr Buhari to present a Money Bill for the withdrawal of funds that will be used to print the recoloured notes because it was not included in the 2022 appropriation bill.

He contended that the move could be found illegal by the court since the Buhari administration failed to present a supplementary bill to the National Assembly authorising the withdrawal of public cash from the account to be utilised for printing the new notes.

“The official endorsement is not sufficient as the President is mandatorily required to present a Money Bill to the National Assembly for the withdrawal of the billions of Naira from public fund earmarked for the printing of the new Naira notes,” the statement by Mr Falana read.

He argued that the  “Constitution requires ‘an appropriation bill or supplementary bill including any other bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation of any money charged thereon or any alteration in the amount of such payment, issue or withdrawal…”

“Since the fund for the printing of the new Naira notes is not captured in the 2022 Appropriation Bill the President is advised to prepare and present a supplementary bill to the National Assembly to authorise the withdrawal of public funds from any Account of the Federation for printing the new Naira notes. Otherwise, the printing of the new Naira without appropriation by the National Assembly may be declared illegal and unconstitutional if it is challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction,” Mr Falana argued.

Finance minister Zainab Ahmed had similarly criticised the apex bank’s decision, claiming that it was made in isolation and without the knowledge of the finance ministry.

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