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Old naira notes remain legal tender – S’Court

The Supreme Court has said its February 8 order restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use…

The Supreme Court has said its February 8 order restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes stands.

This followed an application by counsel to Kaduna State, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), seeking to penalise the federal government for non-compliance with the earlier order of the apex court suspending the currency swap deadline of February 10. 

Mustapha said the Federal Government’s action through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), amounted to “executive lawlessness.” 

But counsel to the federal government, Kanu Agabi (SAN) raised an objection, saying the claim was based on “rumours out there.”

Replying, the seven-member panel of justices presided by Justice John Inyang Okoro, said the parties ought to stay action having submitted the matter before the court.

This is even as more state governments have filed differing applications at the Supreme Court for and against the Federal Government’s currency redesigning and withdrawal policy.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the states of Katsina, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Cross River, Sokoto applied to join as co-plaintiffs with the Kaduna State Government in challenging the currency policy.

However, Bayelsa and Edo states filed their motions in support of the federal government’s currency policy. 

Consequently, the panel ordered the various states to amend the processes to categorise the states joining as co-plaintiffs and those joining as co-defendants.

The panel adjourned the suits for hearing to February 22.

Meanwhile, the panel declined an application by the counsel to the Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) seeking to make a pronouncement about the federal government’s alleged flouting of its order to retain the use of the old naira notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 pending the determination of the suits before the court.

Justice Okoro advised Kaduna State and all the states to file their arguments, including the application on the non-compliance of the order to the court and to serve the other parties.

The panel also advised Kano and Rivers states, whose lawyers, Sunusi Musa and Emmanuel Ukala, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, sought to move their separate applications against the currency policy, to consolidate them with the existing suits.

Other suits sought to be consolidated are those of Jigawa and Niger states.

Reacting to the proceeding of Wednesday, counsel to the Federal Government, Mahmud Magaji (SAN) said: “If you’re saying that the Supreme Court ordered that the old notes remain legal tender, check the enrolment order of court if you will find it there. We are not going to join issues on it because Justice Inyang Okoro said they are not going to make any fresh ex parte order.”


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