President Muhammadu Buhari has distanced himself from the high level impunity and disobedience to courts’ judgements as he on Monday disowned Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor over his inability to obey the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Naira redesign and cash swap.
Buhari declared in a statement by his media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, that he has never instructed the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and Emefiele to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties.
The president spoke against the backdrop of the general impression that the refusal of the CBN to obey the Supreme Court order for the extension of the use of old naira notes along with the redesigned ones, was with his consent.
Buhari said it was wrong to blame him for the controversy trailing the refusal of the CBN to comply with the Supreme Court order.
He said he was not unmindful of the pains experienced by the generality of Nigerians as a result of the cashless policy which he said had its advantages.
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.
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 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 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.
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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.
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.”
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