President Muhammadu Buhari has finally broken his silence over the Supreme Court’s order that extended the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes till December 31, 2023.
His reaction came against the backdrop of speculations that he directed the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to disregard the court order.
Describing such attacks on the President as “unfair and unjust”, the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, in a press release yesterday, said President Buhari is “an absolute respecter of the judicial process and the authority of the courts” who cannot interfere in the administration of justice.
The statement reads partly, “The Presidency wishes to react to some public concerns that President Muhammadu Buhari did not react to the Supreme Court judgement on the issue of the N500 and N1,000 old currency notes, and states here plainly and clearly 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.
“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.”
Shehu said the position of the President that the CBN should release more naira notes into circulation to curb the biting cash scarcity has not changed.
“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 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 also absolved itself of the blame that the cash crunch lingers because the CBN is waiting for the President’s orders to comply with the Supreme Court’s judgment.
“It is therefore wide off the mark to blame the President for the current controversy over the cash scarcity, despite the Supreme Court judgement. The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” Shehu added.
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