The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has said that President Muhammadu Buhari did not breach the Supreme Court’s injunction as regards the Naira redesign and currency swap issue.
Malami stated that as far as the rule of law is concerned, there are many options available.
The minister made the declaration today during the 67th ministerial press briefing at the state house.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court had ordered the suspension of the naira swap deadlines and directed the continued use of the old notes, following a request by three state governors.
However, in a broadcast, the president only restored the validity of the old 200 notes, maintaining that the old 500 and 1000 notes had ceased to be valid, a declaration that stirred various reactions across the country.
In his Professor Mike Ozekhome said Buhari has no powers to override the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
In his latest statement regarding the Naira Redesign and Naira Swap crisis which has left many Nigerians confused, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says Buhari’s national broadcast on the issue was more like a military tyrant’s contemplation.
He added that Buhari’s “imperious order was a frontal call to chaos, anarchy and national upheaval”.
Meanwhile, ten states have asked the Supreme Court to set aside the pronouncement of President Muhammadu Buhari banning old N500 and N1,000 notes.
The governors, in Suit No SC/CV/162/2023, filed on Friday by their counsel, A.J. Owonikoko (SAN), want the apex court to declare the President’s directives in his Thursday’s broadcast as unconstitutional.
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The plaintiffs in the suit are the Attorneys General (AGs) of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Sokoto, and Lagos states while the defendants are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as the AGs of Bayelsa and Edo states.
The plaintiffs, in a 12 grounds of application, argued that Buhari’s directive extending the validity of old N200 notes for 60 days and his ban on old N500 and N1,000 notes are an “unconstitutional overreach and usurpation of the judicial power” of the Supreme Court being that the case is already before the court.
The counsel for the applicants cited Section 232(1), Section 6(6)(b) and Section 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which includes the protection of the Supreme Court’s dignity and which ensure compliance with its orders by all persons and authorities.
“Contrary to the order of the Honourable Court, the substantive 1st defendant through the President of the Federation, and its agent, the Central Bank of Nigeria, have repeatedly released statements that the old Naira Notes are no longer legal tender, hence resulting in misleading the general public on what the status quo to be complied with, pendente lite, should be,” the relief partly read.