The Supreme Court of Nigeria has restrained the Federal Government from carrying on with the full implementation of the demonetisation policy.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro, in a unanimous ruling, granted an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria and their agents and commercial banks from implementing the February 10 terminal dates for the now old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes to stop being a legal tender.
Delivering ruling in the motion, Justice Okoro, held that after careful consideration of the motion ex parte the application is granted as prayed, “An order of Interim Injunction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
The court further held that the Federal Government, CBN and commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 15.
Recall that three northern states: Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, had in a motion ex-parte filed on February 3rd, prayed the apex court to halt the Central Bank of Nigeria naira redesign policy.
The three states had specifically applied for an order of Interim Injunction restraining “the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”.
Moving the application on Wednesday, counsel to the applicants, Mr A. I. Mustapha, SAN said that the policy led to an “excruciating situation that is almost leading to anarchy in the land “.
He urged the apex court to grant the application in the interest of justice and the welfare of Nigerians.
He referenced the CBN statistics which put the number of people without bank accounts at over 60 per cent.
Mustapha lamented that the few Nigerians with bank accounts have not been able to access their monies from the bank as a result of the policy.
The senior lawyer argued that unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the situation will lead to anarchy because most banks are already closing operations.
Justice Okoro adjourned to February 15, 2023 for hearing of the main suit.
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