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

THE Federal Government has said it did not breach the Supreme Court ruling that ordered the recirculation of all redesigned naira notes.

Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami made the assertion at a press briefing in the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, February 23.

Malami said those against the Federal Government on the issue were opposing a policy which he described as beneficial to Nigerian citizens.

“We are not in breach of any order made by the court, inclusive of any order associated with the naira redesign.

“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,” he noted.

The Nigerian government is currently being criticised by members of the public for acting contrary to a Supreme Court order.

The court had delivered an interim ruling restraining the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from implementing a deadline on the use of old naira notes, pending the determination of a case between the president and some governors over the issue

The suit filed by the governors was a result of an announcement by the CBN stating that the old N200, N500 and N1000 would cease to be legal tender by February 17.

Despite the court order, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari directed that only the old N200 notes be recirculated.

Some Nigerians have accused Buhari of disobeying the order of the Supreme Court.

But a lawyer and human rights activist, Chidi Odinkalu said Buhari had not disobeyed the court, as the ruling had been misunderstood by Nigerians.

“The Supreme Court to the best of my knowledge, has not said what people are presenting it as having said. Because, that is not a policy of the court, it’s a misplacement of the capabilities and assets of a court for it to get to that kind of thing.

“I suspect what the Supreme Court has said is: preserve the status quo ante until we hear the case, status quo antebellum, which is what the thing was before the onset of litigation,” he said.

The lawyer stated that the status quo antabellum was the CBN circular on the deadline for the use of old notes.

“I suspect this is the advise the President got, he has not breached anything,” Odinkalu added.


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