The Supreme Court has stated that its order from February 8 prohibiting the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes remains in effect.
Wednesday, the court issued the clarification in response to a complaint by Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), lawyer for Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara States, that the Federal Government and its agencies have failed to comply with the order and have allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes.
Mustapha stated that the plaintiff filed a notice of noncompliance with the February 8 court order. And demanded the court take action against the defendant to preserve the court’s dignity.
He added, “The government has disregarded this order. We are discussing executive lawlessness. We have filed an affidavit stating this… We want the court to renew the guidance order for the parties.”
Justice John Okoro, who presided over a seven-member court panel, requested that Mustapha file a formal application to present his complaints and to allow the respondent to respond appropriately.
Justice Okoro stated that a renewal of the court’s order was unnecessary.
Since the order issued by the court on February 8 was issued pending the outcome of the plaintiff’s motion for injunctions, the order remains in effect as the motion has not yet been heard.
In a ruling issued on February 8, the court stated, “after careful consideration of this ex-parte application and the grounds in support thereof, this court finds that there is an immediate need for this court to intervene by granting this application.
“Accordingly, this request is granted as requested.
“That is, an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria, either by itself or acting through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and/or the commercial banks, its agents; agencies, corporations, ministries, parastatals, organisations or through any person or persons (natural and artificial) howsoever, from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023 the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1,000 naira banknotes must be withdrawn.
The Supreme Court has scheduled February 22 for the hearing of the suit filed by the states of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara challenging the legality of the Federal Government’s naira swap policy.
The court selected the date after adding the Attorneys General of the states of Katsina, Lagos, CR, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, and Sokoto as co-plaintiffs to the earlier suit filed by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.
The court also joined as co-respondents the Attorneys General of the states of Edo and Bayelsa. Both states chose to support the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who was initially listed as the lone defendant.
The court ordered that the lawsuits filed separately by the states of Nasarawa, Rivers, and Kano on the same issue be consolidated with the lawsuit filed by the states of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.
The court ordered the parties to submit all necessary documents prior to the Wednesday hearing.
Before adjourning, Justice Okoro instructed Kanu Agabi (SAN), attorney for the AGF, to advise his client to ensure the availability of currency for the people.
“Inform your client to give people money. If they proceed to the ATM, the plaintiffs will withdraw the lawsuit. Make money accessible to the impoverished masses.
“We’ve heard of ATMs being attacked and bank employees jumping fences…
You should be aware that a hungry man is a hostile man. I say no more,” he said.
Agabi responded that Nigerians only blamed the government for their poverty.
“Many people are impoverished. They blame the Federal Government and the AGF. I also have no money.
“Things have been poor for some time. “The problems did not begin today,” Agabi said.
The governors of Kaduna and Kogi states, Nasir El-Rufai and Yahaya Bello, were present in court to observe proceedings.
Bello stated, following the court proceedings, that the states are not at war with the Federal Government over its cashless policy, but are only concerned about its negative effects on the citizens, who are now denied access to their funds.
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Bello continued, “Myself and my older brother, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, are present today to observe the court proceedings.
We have faith in the judicial system and its learned jurists.
“We are in court because Nigerians are suffering as a result of this cashless versus currency redesign policy of the CBN.
“According to the information we have received from the court, the order issued by these esteemed Justices (of the Supreme Court) remains in effect until Wednesday, when the case will be heard.
“We want to urge all Nigerians to maintain peace, law, and order, even though we are all suffering. This is only a temporary setback for our country.
We do not condemn President Muhammadu Buhari’s particular policy. It will be the way forward, but its implementation is being questioned to ensure the survival of Nigerians.
“No one should be forced to open an account if they do not wish to. You are free to retain your wealth as you see fit.”
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Meanwhile, many banks, traders, and transporters across Nigeria have stopped collecting the old naira notes.
Also despite the supreme court order, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele has instructed banks to stop collecting old naira notes while those with the old currency should visit CBN office Deposit their money.