A legal practitioner in Rivers State, Barrister Matthew Abakpa has said the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to invalidate the old N500 and N1,000 notes despite the Supreme Court order was punishable with imprisonment.
It was recalls that following the redesigning of the Naira notes, the apex bank had fixed February 10 as the deadline for the notes to remain as legal tender in the country.
Some governors elected under the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, however, dragged the Federal Government to the Supreme Court in a move to stop the execution of the stipulated deadline.
Responding to an ex parte application filed by the Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara State governments, the Supreme Court on February 8, stopped the CBN from effecting its ban on the old notes pending the hearing and determination of the case on Wednesday, February 15.
The hearing which was expected to take place on Wednesday, was adjourned to February 22. The apex court insisted that the old Naira notes would remain in circulation.
But President Buhari in a nationwide broadcast on Thursday, directed the CBN to release the old N200 notes to ease the pains of Nigerians.
Contrary to the Supreme Court order, the president noted that the old N500 and N1000 would no longer be legal tender.
Reacting, Abakpa in a chat with DAILY POST on Thursday, said the president’s action against the Supreme Court order was not just “a flagrant disobedience but also a contempt of court”.
According to the lawyer, only immunity saved the president, stating that his action was punishable with imprisonment.
He said, “His (Buhari) broadcast extending only the N200 old note as legal tender and invalidating N500 and N1000 notes is not only a flagrant disobedience to court order but a contempt of court, punishable with imprisonment, but for his immunity.”