FG not in breach of supreme court order on naira policy, says Malami


Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says President Muhammadu Buhari has not acted in breach of the supreme court’s injunction restraining the federal government from imposing a deadline on the use of old naira notes.


Speaking at the 67th ministerial press briefing at the state house on Thursday, the AGF said there are multiple ways around the order of the supreme court.


On February 8, the apex court issued an injunction restraining the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from giving effect to the deadline on the use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes.


The order followed an ex parte application brought before the court by three northern states – Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states.


Despite the order, the President on February 16, in a nationwide broadcast, directed the CBN to re-circulate the old N200 note, declaring that the old N500 and N1,000 notes were no longer legal tender.


Addressing the issue, Malami said: “ 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 in 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 N1000 or N500 notes that have been rejected. So we are not in 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 and legal jurisprudence is clear. Once you are attacking and you seek for setting aside of an existing order of the court, you cannot be said to be operating in breach when you have 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 of stay of execution order.


 “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.”


Meanwhile, 13 other states have joined in the suit against the federal government.


The apex court has fixed March 3 to deliver judgment in the suit.

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