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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has broken his silence,saying, he cannot advise the Federal Government on the naira redesign policy.
Malami said this following Friday’s judgement of the Supreme Court that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023.
Malami, who is the chief adviser to the Federal Government on law, on Saturday, said his brief excluded advice on monetary policy.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, had accused the AGF and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, of deceiving President Muhammadu Buhari on the implementation of the naira redesign policy.
The governors also said Emefiele and Malami introduced the policy to cause hardship in the country after their failed presidential and governorship bids, saying it (policy) was their “revenge plan”.
While some persons had purchased the All Progressives Congress N100 million presidential form for Emefiele, Malami also picked the N50 million governorship form of the party for Kebbi State but they both withdrew from the APC primaries in 2022.
However, Malami, who has yet to speak on the development, could not be reached for comments on Saturday.
His media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, when contacted by The Nation, was also silent on the minister’s disposition to the Supreme Court judgement.
Gwandu, who urged the media to educate Nigerians that Malami’s roles did not include advising on monetary policy issues, said: “It is important that the educational role of the mass media be exercised in this direction.
“The media is an important tool for education and enlightenment.
“Let us use the media to inform the general public that the functions of the office of Attorney General do not include monetary policy regulation.”
When his attention was drawn to a recent example where the AGF was categorical on the Federal Government’s disposition to the February 8, 2023, interim injunction issued by the Supreme Court, Gwandu declined to comment.
Malami had, during an appearance on a private television station shortly after the Supreme Court issued the interim injunction, said the order was binding on the Federal Government.
“I think what we are talking about is not whether the ruling is binding or not binding; we are talking about what we intend to do.
“There is no doubt about the fact that the ruling of the Supreme Court, regardless of the prevailing circumstances, is binding and then within the context of the rule of law.
“You can equally take steps that are available to you within the context of the spirit and circumstances of the rule of law.
“And what we are doing in essence is in compliance with the rule of law both in terms of obedience to the ruling and in terms of challenging the ruling by way of putting across our own side of the story, putting across our case, challenging jurisdiction.
“So the issue of obedience to the ruling of the Supreme Court is out of it. We are wholeheartedly in agreement that naturally, we are bound by it and will comply accordingly.
“But within the context of compliance, we shall challenge the ruling by way of filing an application seeking for it to be set aside. It is all about the rule of law,” the AGF had said.
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