The Presidency Monday evening defended President Muhammadu Buhari on the crisis trailing the redesign of the naira notes.
The Supreme Court had on March 3 reversed the policy on the redesign of the naira notes and extended the validity of old N200, N500, and N1000 till December 31.
However, the silence of the president and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on the ruling has provoked anger among Nigerians following the continued rejection of the old naira notes by traders and other business owners in the country.
The Kogi and Ekiti States governments had last week threatened to prosecute individuals and businesses still rejecting the old banknotes in their states.
But in a statement issued in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said his principal did not instruct Emefiele, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to disobey the Supreme Court order.
He stressed that the CBN had no reason to disobey the apex court’s ruling on the policy.
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 of the Federation and the CBN Governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties.
“The president had 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.
“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.
“President Buhari has been an absolute respecter of the judicial process and the authority of the courts since his assumption of office about eight years ago. The negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators are 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.”