Falana said though the redesign was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, it was done with funds not captured in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana and Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has said the process followed in the redesign of naira notes may be declared illegal and unconstitutional if challenged in court.
Speaking for ASCAB, Falana said though the redesign was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, it was done with funds not captured in the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
In a statement issued on Sunday by ASCAB, Falana based his argument on a constitutional provision which mandates the government to ensure no public fund is spent without an appropriate enactment to that effect.
SaharaReporters had reported that President Buhari unveiled the new naira notes as proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the state house, Abuja in November.
But Falana faulted the process followed which relied solely on Buhari's endorsement without following the due process of the law.
The statement reads, "On October 26, 2022, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele announced that the CBN would issue the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, effective December 15, 2022. In kicking against the policy, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed claimed that she was not consulted prior to the announcement.
"But President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed that he endorsed the redesign of the Naira in line with section 18 of the Central Bank Act. Indeed, the President has since unveiled the re-designed Naira Notes as proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
"However, 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.
"Specifically, section 59 of 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 authorize the withdrawal of public fund 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."