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States Insist On Contempt Charge Against Malami, Emefiele Despite CBN’s Directives

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The likes of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States have insisted on contempt charges against the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) despite the directive of the apex bank to commercial banks to accept and dispense the old naira notes.

Recall that CBN in a statement released on Monday night directed banks to receive and disburse the old notes.

The apex bank in a statement released through its acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Isa AbdulMumin wrote, “In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the rule of law principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court judgment of March 3, 2023.

“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”

The lead counsel for the three states, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) in a chat with Punch on Thursday, however, claimed that the statement released by CBN was a mere camouflage to give the impression of compliance.

According to Mustapha, the state governments have instructed him to initiate contempt proceedings against the AGF and the CBN governor.

He stated, “The press release made by the Central Bank of Nigeria is just a mere camouflage just to give an impression of compliance. There is nothing like that. And our clients, Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, and states have told us that we should go on with the already initiated contempt of proceedings against the Attorney General and the Central Bank Governor.

“The decision of the Supreme Court has not been complied with. They are in contempt of court. We are going to reactivate the already-initiated contempt proceedings. There is a legal process around it.”

Mustapha when asked when Nigerians should expect the proceeding to commence said, “There is a legal process around it; over time you are going to see it. I can confirm to you that we have a clear mandate for our clients to proceed with the already initiated contempt proceedings because it is clear to all and sundry that the CBN is just playing pranks.

“They are not sincere. And they are acting as if they are above the law. The constitution is clear that all organs and everybody must ensure that the decision of the Supreme Court is enforced.”

Recall that the Supreme Court on the 3rd of March, 2023 extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes until December 31.

However, the Federal Government and CBN Governor for days were silent and failed to ‘act’ on the directives of the apex court.