Mr Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice, says the federal government will abide by the Supreme Court order halting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s February 10 deadline for exchanging old notes.
Our correspodent reports that the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against the Feb 10 deadline for the old notes by the CBN.
The apex court’s ruling will elapse on February 15, 2023, and Mr Malami hopes the government would overturn it. Malami spoke the Arise TV on Thursday.
He argued that the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the issue in the first place. He however said the government’s decision to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the old notes deadline was motivated by respect for the rule of law.
In his words, “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.
“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 CBN was not joined as a party and if CBN 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.
“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 complies 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 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.
”Specifically, the federal government, in its preliminary objection to the suit, insisted that the Supreme Court lacked the necessary jurisdiction to entertain the suit in the first place. The federal government argued that the agency (CBN), whose Act was being complained about by the plaintiffs, was a statutory body with legal personality that could sue and be sued in its name.”