The Supreme Court criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) naira redesign policy, declaring the naira notes swap implementation invalid and an affront to the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, who read the lead judgment, ruled that the defendants’ preliminary objections (the Attorney General of the Federation, the states of Bayelsa and Edo) are overruled because the court has jurisdiction to hear the case.
The court held that the dispute between the FederaL Government and the states must involve law or facts, citing Section 23(2)1 of the constitution.
The Supreme Court also ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari admitted in his broadcast that the policy is flawed and fraught with difficulties.
According to the court, the policy has led to some people engaging in barter trade in this modern age in order to survive. The court also stated that the President’s defiance of the February 8 order is evidence of dictatorship.
The Supreme Court decision comes just three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari declared that old 500 and 1000 naira notes are no longer legal tender in Nigeria.
Buhari, on the other hand, directed the CBN to allow the old 200 naira notes to coexist with the redesigned 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes.
The president stated that only the 200 old naira notes will be legal tender until Monday, April 10.
The CBN previously stated that all naira notes will cease to be legal tender on Friday, February 20, 2023.
The state governments of Kogi, Kaduna, and Zamfara sued the federal government in the Supreme Court, requesting that the CB deadline be declared null and void. Over ten states have joined the lawsuit.
The state governments expressed concern about the effects of the CBN’s naira redesign policy on their residents.
The states alleged that the CBN policy is causing significant hardship for Nigerians, and that the Federal Government’s ten-day extension is insufficient to address the challenges of Nigerians exchanging old Naira notes for new ones.
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