Three state governments have initiated proceedings aimed at the jailing of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, for contempt.
The contempt proceedings seek the jailing of the two officials to redress the federal government’s disobedience to the Supreme Court’s order suspending the new naira redesign policy.
This comes as the Supreme Court resumes hearing on the suit challenging the controversial naira redesign policy that has created a crippling cash crunch in the country Wednesday.
The Supreme Court had on 8 February ordered the suspension of the deadline for phasing out the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes.
But President Muhammadu Buhari had snubbed the order in a broadcast last Thursday when he restored the validity of only the old N200 notes but maintained that the old N500 and N1000 notes had ceased to be legal tender.
The suit in which the Supreme Court issued the temporary order was filed by the Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara state governments. Seven other states have since joined the three states as co-plaintiffs in the suit.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, representing the federal government, was sued as the sole defendant in the original suit, although, two more states, which are in support of the controversial policy, have since joined him as co-defendants.
The Supreme Court had at the 15 February proceedings advised the plaintiffs’ lawyer to take necessary to seek redress for the alleged violation of the court order by the Federal government.
Heeding the Supreme Court’s advice, the lawyer to the three states, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, filed contempt proceedings at the Supreme Court against Mr Malami.
Consequences of non-compliance with the orders
In the new court filing, Mr Mustapha warned the Attorney-General and the CBN governor of their flagrant disobedience to the Supreme Court ruling suspending implementation of the naira redesign policy.
The plaintiffs filed two sets of Form 48, each directed at Messrs Malami and Emefiele.
Already, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court has issued the contempt papers, which showed they were issued on 17 February.
The punishment for such disobedience of court order if proven is imprisonment.
According to the filings, 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 the 3rd day of February 2023, you will be guilty of contempt of Court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”
The dispatch of Form 48 on an alleged contemnor is the first stage in the commencement of contempt proceedings.
It is a notice of consequence of disobedience of a court order, which could be followed with the issuance of Form 49, should the violation of the order continues.
At the apex court’s last proceedings, Mr Mustapha complained about the continued disregard of the orders by the federal government.
He described it as “executive lawlessness.”
The proceedings in the naira redesign suit resume at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
It is expected that the filing will feature during the hearing scheduled to resume at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999