KOGI, KADUNA, ZAMFARA DRAG FG TO SUPREME COURT OVER NAIRA SCARCITY
Written by Samson Ojeniran on February 6, 2023
The governments of Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara states, has dragged the Federal government before the Supreme Court over the adverse effect of the Naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on residents of their states.
The three states, through their respective Attorneys-General, are seeking an order of interim injunction to restrain FG and the CBN from stopping the use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 denominations as valid legal tenders, from February 10.
They are praying the apex court to halt the planned full implementation of the policy on use of the new Naira notes.
The plaintiffs, in the suit that was accompanied with an ex-pare application, relied on Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under the three northern states, through their team of lawyers led by Mr. AbdulHakeem Mustapha, SAN, are praying the court to, in the interim, bar FG, either by itself or acting through the CBN, the commercial banks or its agents, from carrying out its plan of ending the time-frame within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira, may no longer be legal tender on February 10.
Specifically, the states are seeking a declaration that the Demonetization Policy of the Federation being currently carried out by the CBN under the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is not in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject.
A declaration that the three-month notice given by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the CBN under the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the expiration of which will render the old banknotes inadmissible as legal tender, is in gross violation of the provisions of Section 20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 which specifies that Reasonable Notice must be given before such a policy.
A declaration that given the express provisions of Section 20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the CBN, has no powers to issue a timeline for the acceptance and redeeming of banknotes issued by the Bank, except as limited by Section 22(1) of the CBN Act 2007. The Central Bank shall at all times redeem its bank notes.
Besides, the states want the court to direct the immediate suspension of the demonetisation of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the CBN under the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria until it complies with the relevant provisions of the law.
The plaintiffs told the apex court that since the CBN announced the new naira policy, there has been an acute shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in their respective states.