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Falana tackles FG over ‘illegal’ floating of Naira, files law suit against CBN


Human rights attorney Femi Falana has stated that the decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under President Bola Tinubu to float the naira is unlawful and is currently being contested in court.

The apex bank reportedly instructed deposit money banks to freely float the naira against the dollar and other major world currencies on June 14, when the naira was trading at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) market between 730 and 755.

The CBN website lists the currency rate as being between N744 and N746 as of Friday.

Falana, who made an appearance as a guest on Friday’s Sunrise Daily episode of Channels Television, asserted that the CBN Act mandated that the apex bank fix the exchange rate.

“There’s no provision for floating the naira. It’s illegal. You say, ‘The value of the naira will be determined by market forces.’ That is not there in the law,” he said.

“I’ve had to sue the Central Bank of Nigeria at the Federal High Court because Section 16 of the Central Bank Act has imposed a duty on the Central Bank to fix and determine the rate of the naira vis-a-vis other currency.”

He noted that Section 20(1) of the CBN Act provides that the only legal tender in Nigeria shall be the currency notes issued by the Central Bank: “only the naira.”

Section 20 (5) of the Act also provides that anybody who spends any other currency in Nigeria without the approval of the central bank has committed an offence “and shall be prosecuted”, he explained, adding, “The penalty is six months’ imprisonment.”

Falana argued further that as long as government officials are not prepared to strengthen the naira and make it the only legal tender in Nigeria, “we’re not going to go far”.

The Federal Government’s allocation of N5 billion for each state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) drew additional comments from the Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Falana contended that the actions were diversionary, despite the National Economic Council (NEC)’s claims that doing so allowed them to get food supplies for distribution to the impoverished in their various states.

“They are temporary measures. Some of them are quite diversionary and the people in government have not addressed the root of the crisis, which is the dollarisation of the economy,” he said.

“Whatever palliatives that are announced will be eaten up by dollarisation of the economy.”

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