FG Will Obey Supreme Court Ruling On Naira Note Swap Deadline – AGF Malami
The Federal Government said it will obey the Supreme Court ruling which restrained the banning of the old naira notes.
KanyiDaily recalls that the CBN had recently announced February 10 as the deadline for the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes will cease to be legal tender in the country.
However, Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi State governments on Monday instituted a suit against the Federal Government at the Supreme Court over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes due to the CBN naira redesign policy.
In its ruling on Wednesday, a seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro restrained the federal government from banning the use of the old naira notes on February 10, and adjourned the matter to February 15, 2023, for hearing of the main suit.
Reacting to the development while speaking in an interview with Arise TV, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, said the government will obey the Supreme Court ruling.
According to him, the federal government was hopeful that the ex parte ruling which expires on Wednesday, February 15, would be upturned.
Malami said, “The rule of law provides that there has to be obedience to the judgement 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 it 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.”
Malami disclosed that the federal government had already put machinery in place to challenge the jurisdiction of the apex court to hear the suit of the three states.
The AGF contended that the singular fact that the CBN was not joined as a party in the suit robbed the apex court of necessary jurisdiction.
He said when the court reconvened next Wednesday, the federal government, on one hand, would be challenging the jurisdiction of the apex court to entertain the suit, and on the other, see how the interim order would be vacated.
He said, “The order was granted by the Supreme Court and the order incidentally lapses on Wednesday, 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.”
“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 was not joined as a party and if the central bank as an institution was 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, among others.”
“I think what we are talking about is not whether the ruling is binding or not binding, we are talking about what we intend to do, there is no doubt about the fact that the ruling of the Supreme Court, regardless of the prevailing 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 in compliance with the rule of law both in terms of obedience to the ruling and in terms of challenging the ruling by way of putting across 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.”
KanyiDaily recalls that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had previously revealed that banks will still accept the old Naira notes even after the expiration of the 10 February deadline.