Friday, September 29, 2023

Old naira notes remain legal tender, says supreme court

The hearing of the lawsuit initiated against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regarding the naira redesign policy has been adjourned by the supreme court.

Nigerians are left to wonder if the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes are still legal after the adjournment.

On Wednesday’s court hearing, the matter was made clearer.

Attorney for Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara Abdulhakeem Mustapha sought that the court issue an order telling the federal government not to impose a deadline on the old notes.

The interim order is in effect during “the hearing on the motion on notice,” according to a seven-member panel of the supreme court chaired by John Okoro, thus no new order is required.

Adeola Adedipe, an attorney, responded to the announcement by stating that the federal government is still obligated by the supreme court decision until the lawsuit is heard and decided.

“It simply means that the interim order subsists pending the determination of that motion having not been set aside,” he told TheCable.

“And if it is perceived that any organ of government that ought to comply with it is in breach, then the plaintiffs know what to do. Which is to commence enforcement proceedings. But the court won’t tell them that.”

Ruling on an ex parte application brought by three states: Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara, the supreme court, on February 8, restrained the CBN from giving effect to the deadline on the use of old notes.

The court issued an interim injunction “restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on 10 February, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”.

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Abubakar Malami. attorney-general of the federation (AGF), the sole respondent in the suit, subsequently filed a preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

However, Malami said the federal government would obey the order in line with the rule of law.

Despite the assurance to comply with the order, some commercial banks, filling stations, and traders have stopped accepting the old naira notes from customers.


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