By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he at no time directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to disobey the Supreme Court order extending the validity of the old naira notes to December 31, 2023.
Buhari said since he was sworn into office in 2015, he has never directed anyone to defy court orders.
The President stated that he is not responsible for the naira scarcity in the country, stressing that the CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from him.
This was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The statement read: “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 practise 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.”
Shehu stated that Buhari is not a micromanager, saying the President will not stop the AGF and the CBN Governor from performing their duties in accordance with the law.
He said the directive of President Buhari, after the meeting of the Council of State, was that the CBN must make available for circulation all the money that is needed, noting that 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.