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[News] Supreme Court adjourns suit on old Naira notes

Published by on February 15th, 2023.

Supreme Court adjourns suit on old Naira notes

The Supreme Court has adjourned the suit filed by governors to challenge the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Wednesday February 22.

The apex court said it would consolidate all the cases, stressing that all the states would abide by its decision on the matter.

Owing to the fresh twist in the case, a seven-man panel of Justices of the court, ordered Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara states to amend their initial Originating Summons to reflect the new states it joined as interested parties in the matter.

The panel headed by Justice Inyang Okoro equally directed the plaintiffs to ensure that they file and serve all the respondents with the relevant processes, before Friday, even as it adjourned further proceedings in the matter till next week Wednesday.

Meanwhile, before the matter was adjourned, counsel for the three northern states that initiated the litigation, Mr. AbdulHakeem Mustapha, SAN, drew attention of the apex court to the fact that its ex-parte order that restrained FG from implementing the February 10 deadline for the use of the old banknotes, was flouted.

Mustapha, SAN, told the court that contrary to the order, CBN, had since invalidated the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

He, therefore, pleaded the apex court to reinstate the interim order, saying he had also filed a process to reflect FG’s disobedience to the court order.

Ex-AGF Agabi reacts

Reacting on behalf of FG, a former AGF, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, told the apex court that Mustapha’s claim was within the realm of “mere rumour”.

He maintained that FG was yet to see the process the plaintiffs filed.

Though the apex court said it was not willing to issue another ex-parte order, it, however warned that parties that having submitted the matter for adjudication, they are not expected to take any action that could affect the subject matter of the litigation.

“Once you submit yourself to the court, you have to wait”, head of the panel, Justice Inyang Okoro warned.

“We are all in this country and we can see what is happening. We have seen people destroying ATMs. We pray that there will not be a break down of law and order’, he added.

How states split over old naira

The decision of the Federal Government to phase out the N200, N500 and N1000 old Naira notes as valid legal tenders, has created a wide rift among various states of the federation.

Though only three northern states- Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara- initially instituted an action to challenge the new monetary policy that was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, however, when the matter came up before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seven other states applied and were joined as co-plaintiffs in the suit.

The states the apex court allowed to come into the case to challenge FG’s decision, were; Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Sokoto states.

Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state, Katsina, also persuaded the court to allow it to file legal processes to nullify the new monetary policy.

On the other hand, Edo and Bayelsa state threw their weight behind FG and the CBN.

The two states, through their various Attorneys-General, secured nod of the apex court to join the case as co-respondents in the suit that originally had only the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, as the sole respondent.

However, both Rivers and Kano state told the court that their own case was different, insisting that they raised recondite issues of law that were not part of what the original plaintiffs submitted for determination.

Specifically, the two states, maintained that aside from the issue of the old banknotes, they have a grouse with the N5million and N100, 000 cash withdrawal limits the CBN okayed for corporate entities and individuals, respectively.

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