The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami said President Muhammadu Buhari has obeyed the Supreme Court ruling, which put on hold the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) demonetisation policy.
With the new development, Nigerians have till Feb 15th to use the old naira notes
He however noted that the government would take necessary steps to set aside the interim order.
Malami spoke during an interview on ARISE News TV.
The Supreme Court had in a ruling on Wednesday suspended the CBN deadline for demonetisation policy and fixed February 15 for hearing on the matter.
Malami clarified that the federal government, out of its regard for the rule of law, would abide by the order of the apex court, even though it intended to challenge it and would do so within the provisions of the law.
He said: “The order was granted by the supreme court and the order is to lapse on Wednesday(February 15th) which is the day of the hearing. With that position in mind, we have taken steps to file an objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter,” he said.
“Jurisdiction on the grounds that when you talk of monetary policy regardless of the characters they take, the Central Bank is an indispensable and a necessary party for that matter.
“What we have at hand is a situation where the Central Bank is not joined as a party and if the Central Bank as an institution is not joined as a party the position of the law is clear that the original jurisdiction of the supreme court cannot be properly invoked.
“So we have given considerations to diverse issues inclusive of the issue of jurisdiction and come Wednesday we will argue the case from that perspective amongst others.
“There is no doubt the fact that the ruling of the supreme court regardless of the prevalent circumstances is binding and then within the context of the rule of law, you can equally take steps that are available to you within the context of the spirit and circumstances of the rule of law and what we are doing, in essence, is compliance with the rule of law both in terms of obedient to the ruling and in terms of challenging the ruling by way of putting our own side of the story, putting across our case, challenging jurisdiction.
“So the issue of obedience to the ruling of the supreme court is out of it we are wholeheartedly in agreement that naturally we are bound by it and will comply accordingly but within the context of compliance we shall challenge the ruling by way of filing an application seeking for it to be set aside, it is all about the rule of Law.
The rule of law provides that there has to be obedience to the judgment and orders of the supreme court, the rule of law provides that when you are not happy with a ruling you can file an application for setting aside and in compliance with the rights and privileges vested in us as a government we are equally looking at challenging the order and seeking for it to be set aside.”
According to Malami, the federal government has filed reasons before the Supreme Court as to why the suit by three states challenging the February 10 deadline fixed by the CBN for phasing out the old N1, 000, N500, and N200 banknotes should be struck out.
DAILY GIST reported that a seven-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice John Okoro, had temporarily restrained the federal government from restricting the use of the old naira notes after February 10 pending the hearing of the suit.
The ex-parte application was filed by the governors of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states, citing the negative effects the policy is having on the residents.
But the federal government has asked the apex court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
The inability to get the new notes has led to protests in some parts of the country with angry Nigerians vandalizing ATMs and banks.
Nigerians continue to face hardship as the effect of the cash crunch and fuel crisis bites harder amid rising tension.
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