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Naira Redesign: Buhari Didn’t Breach Supreme Court Order – Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Thursday, said the decision of President Muhammmadu Buhari on February 16 extending the validity of only old N200 notes to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 was not in breach of Supreme Court order, Daily Trust reports.

He said this while fielding questions from State House reporters while featuring at the Media Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Supreme Court had earlier ordered commercial banks and others financial institutions to continue transacting with the old notes pending the determination of the motion at the apex court on February 15.

The supreme court had again on February 15 said its order suspending the implementation of the February 10 deadline on the old naira notes still subsists and moved the case against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the naira redesign policy to Wednesday, February 22.

On February 22, the case on the currency swap policy was further adjourned to March 3, 2023 for judgement in the suit filed by Zamfara, Kogi and Kaduna state governments.

The President had on February 16 addressed citizens amid protests in some states across the country over the scarcity of cash following the implementation of the currency redesign policy by the CBN.

He had permitted only old N200 notes to be recirculated as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes to ease the supply pressures particularly to citizens, declaring that old N1000 and N500 notes were no longer legal tender.

However, the action fell short of the demands of the governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who had asked that the President directed an adequate injection of the new notes and the continued utilisation of all old ones until the end of the year to cushion the negative effects which the policy decision to redesign the currency had on their constituencies.

More governors had joined those dissatisfied with the decision of the Federal Government to phase out N500 and N1000 notes.

When asked whether the federal government was in breach of the Supreme Court order after the presidential directive on the matter, Malami said: “Your question can best be answered within the context of what constitutes a rule of law in the Nigerian situation, where an order is made by a court, you have multiple options, but let me state before even addressing the issue of the options available at our disposal as a government.

“The fact, clearly, that we are not a breach of any order made by the court, inclusive of any order associated with the naira redesign. We are not in breach. I believe I’m not a banker, but you have not gone to establish which bank is it that you have gone to present a N1000 or N500 notes that has been rejected. So we are not breach.

“But then, assuming we are in breach, the fact remains that this matter is sub-judice, as you rightly know. It’s being contested before the Supreme Court and when an order is made, you have multiple options within the context of the rule of law.

“One, you are entitled as a matter of right, if the facts and evidence support your position, to apply for setting it aside. The position of the law, legal jurisprudence is clear, once you are attacking and you seeking for a setting aside of an existing order of the court, cannot be said to be operating in breach when you presented your application for setting aside.

“If the court is not an apex court, you equally have a right of appeal and support the right of appeal with an application for stay, of execution order. So the bottom line of what I’m trying to state, if the matter is sub-judice and within the context of the rule of law, we are doing the needful as a government, in terms of ensuring that the right of the government, within the context of the naira redesign, is being protected. So we are not in breach.”


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