Senior Advocate Femi Falana Deems Naira Floating by CBN as Illegal

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has declared the recent floating of the Nigerian naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as an illegal action.

The CBN’s directive to Deposit Money Banks, instructing them to allow the naira to be floated freely against international currencies through the importer and exporter window, has led to the determination of the naira’s value against foreign currencies by market forces. This shift has caused the exchange rate, previously fixed around N460/$, to now fluctuate between N700 and N800 per US dollar.

In an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Falana criticized the CBN’s decision to float the naira, asserting that it contradicts the CBN Act.

He stated, “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.”

Falana further explained, “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.”

Drawing attention to the legal framework, Falana pointed out that Section 20(1) of the CBN Act specifies that the sole official legal tender in Nigeria is the currency notes issued by the Central Bank, specifically the naira.

He also highlighted that Section 20(5) of the Act outlines that anyone using any other currency within Nigeria without the central bank’s approval commits an offense punishable by six months’ imprisonment.

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Falana stressed that for Nigeria’s progress to be unhindered, government officials must take measures to reinforce the naira’s strength and establish it as the exclusive legal tender in the country.

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