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Supreme Court Judgment on Nigerian Notes Restrains CBN from Implementing February 10 Deadline for Use of Old Notes

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Supreme Court
Supreme Court

By Uche Amunike

A seven-man panel led by Justice John Okoro has given an order
of interim injunction in the face of the present severe scarcity
of the newly redesigned notes nationwide, regarding the
Supreme Court judgment on Nigerian notes, Wednesday, which
has presently restrained the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from
keeping to their much announced deadline of February 10 to
stop the use of old naira notes as a legal tender.

Recall that three northern states, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara,
had applied for an order of Interim Injunction restraining the
CBN from ending the use of the old naira notes on the February
10 deadline, as Nigerians were generally suffering as a result of
the unavailability of the new notes. However, because the
application was ex-parte, it was not served on the Attorney
General of the Federation who is sued on the case as a
representative of the federal government.
Lawyer to the applicants who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria
(SAN), Abdulkareem Mustapha, was however heard and Okoro,
after hearing him out, granted the application as a decision

carefully taken by his panel after due consideration. The lawyer
stated that the new policy made by the government had
brought about ‘an excruciating situation that is almost leading
to anarchy in the land’. He maintained that a CBN statistic put
Nigerians without bank accounts at over 60% and decried that
the few who had bank accounts are finding it almost impossible
to access their money from their various banks, due to the new
policy.

He argued that the Supreme Court should intervene in the
chaotic situation as most banks were already shutting down
operations. According to the claims of his clients, ‘many
citizens, have to date, not seen the newly redesigned notes, let
alone, exchange their old notes for the new notes’, even
though the government had made promises to make them
available. They maintained that the present situation of things
since the introduction of the seemingly failed policy, coupled
with the backhanded way the exercise was being handled, not
forgetting the attendant hardship it has brought to Nigerians all
over the country, has been certainly acknowledged by the
Federal Government of Nigeria.

They further submitted that the current suffering being
experienced by the people of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states
was not justified, noting that economic activities had also been
grinded to a halt.

After hearing their submissions of the applicants lawyer, Okoro
issued an order of interim injunction. Hear him: ‘This is an order
of interim injunction restraining the federal government
through 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 1000
denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender,
pending the hearing and determination of their motion on
notice for interlocutory injunction’.

After the Supreme Court judgment on naira notes was issued,
hearing of the main suit was adjourned to February 15.

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