Old naira: I didn’t order CBN, AGF to disobey Supreme Court – Buhari

The Presidency has said President Muhammadu Buhari never told the Attorney General and the Central Bank of Nigeria to defy the Supreme Court order on the old naira notes of N500 and N1,000 denominations.

According to a statement issued by the presidency via its Twitter handle on Monday, President Buhari said that at no time did he instruct the Attorney General and the CBN Governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties.

Read also: Old naira notes: Buhari under pressure to comply with Supreme Court judgement

The statement read, “Since the President was sworn into office in 2015, he has never directed anybody to defy court orders, in the strong belief that we can’t practice democracy without the rule of law, and the commitment of his administration to this principle has not changed.

“Following 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.”

It is said that the President has always given the Attorney General and the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria the free hand to perform their duties without interference. “The President is not a micromanager and will not, therefore, stop the AG and CBN Gov from performing 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 of the orders of the apex court,” it added.

“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 a lack of confidence in the administration of justice, or otherwise interfere with 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.”

The presidency insists that despite the hardship millions of Nigerians are going through because of the cashless policy, most people still believe in the gains of the policy, and it would be wrong for people to blame the president for the current cash scarcity controversy.

“As for the cashless system, which the central bank 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’s judgement.

The President insists that the CBN had no excuse not to comply with the court directive.

The statement noted that “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, saying that “no government in our recent history has introduced policies to help economically marginalised and vulnerable groups like the present administration.”