Supreme Court Order: APC Govs sue Malami, Emefiele for Contempt

By Starrys Obazei | February 22, 2023

Three governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, – Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) – yesterday, upped the ante in the pressure mounted on the Federal Government, when they filed a contempt proceeding against the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, for failing to comply with the order of the Supreme Court suspending the ban on the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

Ahead of today’s momentous sitting of the Supreme Court, the APC governors had since Sunday begun subterranean moves to compel the Federal Government to obey the apex court’s order or adopt a political/out-of-court solution by prevailing on the party leadership to convince President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt a soft stance on the naira swap policy.

Stepping up pressure on the Federal Government, APC leadership with the three governors, on Monday, met privately with Malami. At the end of the meeting, none of the participants said a word as they shunned media inquiries.

In a new twist yesterday, a fresh proceeding was filed before the Supreme Court. In the suit, the AGF and Emefiele were warned about the consequences of their continued failure to comply with the apex court’s order on the currency policy.

The forms filed by the team of lawyers representing the three states, are now part of the applications awaiting the Supreme Court’s consideration as proceedings resume today.

While CBN was not joined in the initial suit, the Supreme Court had given an interim order to FG not to end the use of the old naira notes on February 10 in an ex-parte application by the three applicant states.

Copies of the Forms 48 sighted showed that the CBN Governor and the AGF were served on February 17, while it was received at the Supreme Court two days earlier (February 15), according to The Guardian.

The Form 48, dated February 15, reads: “Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in the attached Order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on February 3, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”

The issuance of Form 48 on an alleged contemnor (a party believed to have flouted an order of court) is the first stage in the commencement of contempt proceeding. Form 48 is a notice of consequence of disobedience of court order, which could be followed with the issuance of Form 49, should the disobedience persist.

Recall that last Thursday, President Buhari, in a national broadcast, had said the old N500 and N1,000 notes were no longer legal tender in the country, however, he extended the validity of the old N200 note for 60 days, till April 10.

Consequently, el-Rufai in a state broadcast also last Thursday, faulted the President on his directive to re-introduce just the old N200 note as part of measures to curb the cash crunch in the country, insisting that the old N1,000 and N500 notes are still legal tender in his state.

Yesterday, when the President accompanied party leaders for the grand finale of APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to Lagos, he kept a studied silence on the controversy while addressing the crowd to vote for the party in Saturday’s election.

However, CBN, yesterday, stated that President Buhari’s directive on the N200 notes still stands. In a statement jointly signed by its Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Edward Adamu, and Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, CBN dismissed some media reports that the President approved the reissuance and release of the old N500 and N1,000 notes as legal tender in the country. It described the reports as fake news, pledging to work with security agencies to unravel the perpetrators of the misleading reports.

“The attention of CBN has been drawn to a fake press release purported to have emanated from the bank to the effect that President Buhari has approved the reissuance and release of old N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender in the country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, CBN reiterates that in line with the directives of Mr. President, only N200 old notes are to be reissued and to circulate concurrently with the new notes. Members of the public are therefore, advised to ignore this fake news.

“The bank is working with the law enforcement agencies to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the purveyors of this fake news. Please be guided accordingly.”

CBN was reacting to a purported press release shared on the Instagram page of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, that said the old N500 and N1,000 notes should remain legal tender for the next 70 days, till May 1.

The said message had been sighted on the First Lady’s verified Instagram handle, but was later pulled down after a while. The First Lady has, however, distanced herself from the post, saying her account was hacked and the fake post another attempt at smearing her image by the same persons responsible for deleting many of her social media posts in the past.

According to her, she immediately ordered that the fake press release be taken down from her handle when it was discovered, even as she tasked security and intelligence agencies to investigate and bring the culprits to justice.

“It has come to my attention that a certain fake news was posted on my social media handle, Instagram, which also directly connects to my Facebook page, earlier this morning. I have since directed that it should be deleted.

“This person is a hacker, criminally minded with the intention to continue attacking my reputation through my social media platforms. But I am assuring you that this is the first and last time I am disclaiming fake news on my handle. It is the responsibility of the security agencies to find out who I am sharing my social media handles with, despite being verified accounts, and take all necessary actions,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *