President Muhammadu Buhari distanced himself from the non-compliance of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) to the judgment of the Supreme Court judgment that old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 remain legal tender until December 31 and co-exist with the new notes.
The Presidency on Monday in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said at no time did President Buhari instruct the AGF and the CBN governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties stressing that since 2015 the President has never directed anybody to defy court orders.
While saying that democracy cannot be practised in the country without the rule of law and that the commitment of his administration to this principle has not changed, the Presidency in the statement noted that President Buhari is not a micromanager and will not, therefore, stop the Attorney General and the CBN governor from performing the details of their duties in accordance with the law.
The Presidency added that the CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from President Buhari as he is an absolute respecter of the judicial process and the authority of the courts.
“Following the ongoing intense debate about the compliance concerning the legality of the old currency notes, the Presidency, therefore, wishes to state clearly that President Buhari has not done anything knowingly and deliberately to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice.
“The President is not a micromanager and will not, therefore, stop the Attorney General and the CBN governor from performing the details of their duties in accordance with the law.
“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.
“The directive of the President, following the meeting of the Council of State, is that the bank must make available for circulation all the money that is needed and nothing has happened to change the position.
“It is an established fact that the President is an absolute respecter of the judicial process and the authority of the courts.
“He has done nothing in the last eight or so years to act in any way to obstruct the administration of justice, cause lack of confidence in the administration of justice, or otherwise interfere or corrupt the courts and there is no reason whatsoever that he should do so now when he is getting ready to leave office.
“The negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust, as no court order at any level has been issued or directed at him.”
“As for the cashless system the CBN is determined to put in place, it is a known fact that many of the country’s citizens who bear the brunt of the sufferings surprisingly support the policy as they believe that the action would cut corruption, fight terrorism, build an environment of honesty and reinforce the incorruptible leadership of the President.
“It is, therefore, wide off the mark to blame the President for the current controversy over the cash scarcity, despite the Supreme Court judgment.
“The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President.
“President Buhari has also rejected the impression that he lacks compassion.
“No government in our recent history has introduced policies to help economically marginalised and vulnerable groups like the present administration,” said the Presidency in the statement.
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