Buhari Never Told Malami, Emefiele To Disobey Supreme Court Order On Cash Swap – Presidency
The Presidency has absolved President Muhammadu Buhari of any blame over the apparent hesitance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to effect the Supreme Court’s judgement of March 4, which revalidated the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes as legal tender till December 31, 2023.
CBN last year introduced new N1,000, N500 and N200 notes, instructing that the old versions would cease to be legal tenders by January 31.
The monetary policy, which was introduced to complement others, including the cashless policy, has however inflicted much hardship on the public, leading to a chronic cash scarcity nationwide and eventually a legal tussle between some state governments and the federal government.
The Supreme Court decided the case over the cash scarcity crises two Fridays ago, instructing the CBN to immediately release the already evacuated old denominations into the system, along with the new one and allow both to circulate as legal tenders until December 31, when the old ones will finally cease to be legal tender.
However, since the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the matter, there had been no action from the CBN or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), giving rise to a new wave of suspicion from the public, including state governments and other stakeholders.
However, reacting to the allegation of disrespect for and disobedience of Judicial powers of the Supreme Court against the President, the Presidency, in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Buhari has not impeded either the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice or the CBN Governor from obeying the courts in the matter.
“The Presidency wishes to react to some public concerns that President Muhammadu Buhari did not react to the Supreme Court judgement on the issue of the N500 and N1,000 old currency notes, and states here plainly and clearly that at no time did he instruct the Attorney General and the CBN Governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties.
“Since the President was sworn into office in 2015, he has never directed anybody to defy court orders, in the strong belief that we can’t practise democracy without the rule of law and the commitment of his administration to this principle has not changed.
“Following the ongoing intense debate about the compliance concerning the legality of the old currency notes, the Presidency therefore wishes to state clearly that President Buhari has not done anything knowingly and deliberately to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice.
“The President is not a micromanager and will not, therefore, stop the Attorney General and the CBN Governor from performing the details of their duties in accordance with the law. In any case, it is debatable at this time if there is proof of willful denial by the two of them on the orders of the apex court.
“The directive of the President, following the meeting of the Council of State, is that the Bank must make available for circulation all the money that is needed and nothing has happened to change the position.
“It is an established fact that the President is an absolute respecter of judicial process and the authority of the courts. He has done nothing in the last eight or so years to act in any way to obstruct the administration of justice, cause lack of confidence in the administration of justice, or otherwise interfere or corrupt the courts and there is no reason whatsoever that he should do so now when he is getting ready to leave office.
“The negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust, as no court order at any level has been issued or directed at him,’’ the presidency stated.
On the cashless policy, the Presidency said: “As for the cashless system the CBN is determined to put in place, it is a known fact that many of the country’s citizens who bear the brunt of the sufferings, surprisingly support the policy as they believe that the action would cut corruption, fight terrorism, build an environment of honesty and reinforce the incorruptible leadership of the President.
“It is therefore wide off the mark to blame the President for the current controversy over the cash scarcity, despite the Supreme Court judgement. The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President.
“President Buhari has also rejected the impression that he lacks compassion, saying that “no government in our recent history has introduced policies to help economically marginalised and vulnerable groups like the present administration.’’
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