According to the Federal Government, it will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision suspending the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) February 10 deadline for the exchange of naira notes.
The government is hoping that the ex parte decision, which expires on February 15, 2023, will be overturned, according to Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, who confirmed this in an interview on Arise TV yesterday.
He said that because the CBN, who is an essential party to the dispute, was not joined, the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the case in the first place.
Recall that the apex court in its ruling on Wednesday, suspended the February 10 deadline on the old naira notes which expires today.
Malami, however, said that the decision of the government to obey the Supreme Court order on the naira deadline was based on the administration’s respect for the rule of law.
”He said: “An interim order was granted by the Supreme Court and that order was to lapse on Wednesday (February 15) and incidentally, that was the day the court fixed for hearing of the motion. With the position in mind, we have taken steps to file our objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter. Jurisdiction on the ground that when you talk of monetary policy, Central Bank is an indispensable and necessary party in the matter.
“A situation where the Central Bank is not joined in the matter as a party and if the Central Bank as an institution is not joined as a party, the law is clear that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court cannot be invoked. So, we have given consideration to diverse issues, inclusive of the issue of jurisdiction and we will argue it from that perspective. There is no doubt that the ruling of the Supreme Court, regardless of the circumstance, is binding and within the context of the spirit of the rule of law, so the issue of disobedience to the ruling of the Supreme Court is out of it. We agree wholeheartedly that we are bound by it and we will comply by it.”
Political parties and some stakeholders, were yesterday, divided over what President Muhammadu Buhari should do with the Supreme Court’s interim order asking the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, not to end the use of old Naira notes today.
While some want President Buhari to obey the apex court’s order, others kicked against it
Those who agreed with the Supreme Court and urged the President and the CBN not to stop usage of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes today include the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP; Zamfara State governor, Bello Mattawalle; African Democratic Congress, ADC, presidential candidate, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu; and Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN among others.
However, the umbrella body of registered political parties and political associations in the country, the Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, cautioned against extending the deadline for use of the old notes and accused the APC of arm-twisting the CBN to buy votes at the forthcoming general polls.