According to Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, President Muhammadu Buhari did not violate the Supreme Court’s order regarding the redesign of the naira and the currency exchange issue.
Malami claimed that there are numerous solutions accessible in terms of the rule of law.
The statement was delivered by the minister today at the State House’s 67th Ministerial Press Conference.
Following a motion from three state governors, a seven-member Supreme Court panel ordered the suspension of the naira swap deadlines and recommended the continuing use of the old notes.
The president, however, stated in a broadcast that the old N500 and N1000 notes were no longer legitimate and only reinstated the validity of the old N200 notes, which sparked a variety of responses across the nation.
Reacting to the development, some Nigerians, including Professor Mike Ozekhome, argued that Buhari lacked the authority to overrule the Nigerian Supreme Court.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) claims that President Buhari’s recent national broadcast on the Naira Redesign and Naira Swap problem, which has bewildered many Nigerians, was more akin to a military tyrant’s thought process.
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.
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.