The Federal government has cleared the air that has said that the court order will be obeyed inline with the rule of law.
Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria stated that Nigerians are free to continue using the old naira notes till Wednesday, February 15, 2023, when the supreme court order suspending the implementation of the cash swap policy will elapse.
Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier fixed Friday, February 10, 2023, as the deadline for the expiration of the old naira notes in the country.
But the Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, halted the move by the CBN days after the governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states dragged the Federal Government to court to challenge the policy.
Following the judgement, Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.
Speaking on Arise TV on Thursday, Malami said that the federal government would obey the order in line with the rule of law.
He said the ruling of the Supreme Court is binding on the CBN and the Federal Government, adding that on Wednesday, the government will challenge the order and ask for it to be set aside.
He said, “The order was granted by the supreme court and the order is to lapse 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 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.”
Meanwhile, the World Bank has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend its time limit for naira notes swap, saying the transition period for the policy is too short.