Ten days after Supreme Court ruling directing continued use of old N500 and N1,000 notes till December 31, 2023, the Presidency, yesterday, clarified that President Muhammadu Buhari did not direct the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), and governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, not to obey the apex court’s ruling on naira redesign policy.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the President never told Malami and Emefiele to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties, and as such, the duo have no reason not to comply with the Supreme Court order on naira redesign on the excuse of waiting for directives from President Buhari.
But going by his public support of the policy as encapsulated in a national broadcast on February 16, President Buhari, yesterday, refused to take the bold step to end the suffering of millions of Nigerians, who are experiencing difficulties because of the naira redesign policy.
In his first public remarks to criticisms by Nigerians of his government’s disobedience to an order of the Supreme Court, President Buhari refused to categorically make an order or give the go ahead to the CBN to issue directives to the banks on the status of the old notes. Instead, he said he did not instruct anybody to disobey any court orders.
Despite the ruling, banks and other businesses have continued to reject the old N500 and N1,000 notes, saying the President and CBN governor have not given them the go ahead.
According to Shehu, the President is not a micromanager and will not, therefore, stop the AGF and the CBN governor from performing the details of their duties in accordance with the law.
The media aide said, in any case, it is debatable at this time, if there is proof of willful denial by the two of them on the orders of the apex court. He said the directive of the President, following the meeting of the Council of State, is that the CBN must make available for circulation, all the money that is needed and nothing has happened to change the position.
Garba described the negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators as unfair and unjust, as no court order, at any level, has been issued or directed at him.