It’s treason’ – Datti Baba-Ahmed tackles el-Rufai on old naira notes broadcast

Our reporter| The vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed, on Friday accused Nasir el-Rufai of committing treason in a comment on the validity of old naira notes.

President Buhari had on Thursday in a televised address to Nigerians, said he has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the validity of old N200 notes till April 10, while all existing old N1,000 and N500 notes will remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points for 60 days.

This came less than 24 hours after the supreme court insisted that the old notes were still valid, and adjourned the case filed by some states on the old notes till February 22.

But in a broadcast on Thursday night, Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, said the old N500 and N1000 notes remain valid in the state pending the supreme court’s decision.

Reacting to El-Rufai’s directive at a press conference on Friday, Datti-Ahmed said the states who are at the forefront of the fight against the naira redesign policy were those that contributed the highest number of votes to Buhari’s victory in the 2019 elections.

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“Why would you as the commander-in-chief give an executive order and it is clearly constitutional and a state governor would say you should continue exchanging those currencies,” Baba-Ahmed asked.

“This is to say there are two authorities. Why President Buhari is silent about this is best known to him.

“Immunity does not mean that the offense has not been committed.

“These are the states (kicking against the naira swap policy) that contributed about the largest votes for Buhari – Kano, Kaduna – but these are states in the forefront of fighting Buhari’s government because of currency.

“These are state governments who have not fought over failure to secure Nigerians. Their states have become so insecure.

“They didn’t challenge Buhari when the naira fell from N200 to N750.

“It is with this drama in the election that they are challenging him to the extent of giving counter orders… You know, treason. It is close to treason, lawyers will tell you that better.”

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The LP vice presidential candidate described the federal government’s non-compliance with the order of the supreme court to allow the continuation of the old naira notes as “classic, poor, quality leadership”.

“It was very strange that the attorney-general of the federation allowed Mr. President to proceed with yesterday’s national broadcast,” he said.

“It was unfortunate. The least I know is that when a competent court of jurisdiction, for that matter, the supreme court is addressing an issue, all parties stay action.

“However, I have submitted in the second paragraph that we are more than bewildered by the poor quality of leadership in Nigeria. That is the only way I can explain this phenomenon.

“The supreme court has adjourned ruling and a commander-in-chief goes and takes another action. This is classic, poor, quality leadership.”

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