The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has lambasted the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami for asking the Supreme Court to dismiss a suit challenging the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Headlinenews.news report.
The preliminary objection was filed on Wednesday by the AGF through his lawyers – Mahmud Magaji and Tijanni Gazali.
Recall that on Wednesday, the Supreme Court temporarily halted the government’s move to stop the use of old naira notes on February 10, 2023.
This was stated in a ruling given by a seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro for an ex parte application brought by three northern state governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.
The three states had specifically applied for an order of Interim Injunction restraining “the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
On Wednesday, Mr. A. I. Mustapha, SAN, counsel for the applicants, urged the Supreme Court to grant the application in the interest of justice and the well-being of Nigeria.
He stated that the policy of the government had led to an “excruciating situation that is almost leading to anarchy in the land.”
While referring to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) statistics indicating that more than 60 percent of Nigerians do not have bank accounts, Mustapha lamented that the few Nigerians who do have bank accounts are unable to access their funds as a result of the policy.
However, the Nigerian government in its preliminary objection argued that the Supreme Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
President Muhammdu Buhari’s government is also asking the court to strike out the suit.
According to the defence lawyers, the suit falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in matters of monetary policy of an agency of the Federal Government.
“The claims or reliefs are not against the federation, but the Federal Government and its Agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria is distinct from the Federation or the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Plaintiffs have no grievance whatsoever against the Federation of Nigeria.
“This suit has disclosed no dispute that invokes this (Supreme) Court’s original jurisdiction as constitutionally defined,” the AGF said.
However, reacting to the move by the AGT, the spokesman for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Bayo Onanuga, branded the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, as Nigeria’s “public enemies”.
In a tweet he posted on his official Twitter account, @aonanuga1956, on Wednesday night, Onanuga condemned the objection filed by Malami, tagging him along with the CBN Governor as an enemy of Nigeria.
“Abubakar Malami is also a public enemy like Emefiele.”
In another tweet, the Tinubu spokesman wrote:
“Never in our history have we witnessed a Central Bank Governor such as Emefiele desecrating the office as he does.
“Now he is organizing protest against the Supreme Court for quashing the unreasonable deadline of his naira swap.”