Femi Falana (SAN), an activist lawyer, has encouraged President Muhammadu Buhari to propose a Supplementary Bill to the National Assembly authorizing the withdrawal of public funds from any federation account for the printing of fresh naira notes.
He warned that if this isn’t done, the production of the new naira notes—without appropriation by the National Assembly—may be deemed unlawful and in violation of the constitution if contested in court.
Presidential support is not enough to justify the revamping of the naira notes, according to Falana, who is also the chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), in a statement released yesterday in Lagos.
He claimed that this is because the 2022 Appropriation Bill did not include funding for the printing of new naira notes.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said on October 26, 2022, that the apex bank would begin issuing the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes on December 15, 2022.
However, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, asserted that she was not contacted before the announcement.
But, as required by Section 18 of the CBN Act, President Buhari said he supported the redesign of the naira and then introduced the redesigned currency that the apex bank had suggested.
Falana, however, contended that the formal approval is insufficient because the President must present a Money Bill to the National Assembly in order to withdraw the billions of naira from the public money designated for the printing of the new naira notes.
Alluding to Section 59 of the Constitution, the frontline lawyer averred that the law 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.”