The Supreme Court of Nigeria has put a stop to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) plan to discontinue the use of the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes.
On February 3rd, three northern states – Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara – filed a motion in the apex court seeking a halt to the CBN’s naira redesign policy.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice John Okoro, granted an interim injunction against the Federal Government, CBN and commercial banks, prohibiting them from implementing the February 10 deadline for the old naira notes to stop being a legal tender.
The court ordered that the old naira notes must continue to be legal tenders in Nigeria pending the determination of a notice on notice in respect of the issue on February 15.
In addition to the legal battle initiated by the three states, five political parties also took the matter to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court and secured an order preventing the Federal Government and the CBN from extending the deadline.
The CBN had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes on October 26, 2022 and President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned notes on November 23, 2022.
The CBN had set a deadline of January 31 for the validity of the old notes, but with numerous objections from the public, the apex bank extended the deadline to February 10 with the approval of the President.
Despite the uproar over the validity of the old naira notes, the CBN has maintained a weekly cash withdrawal limit of N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.
President Buhari has requested seven days to make a major decision on the policy after a meeting with some APC governors on Friday.
The Supreme Court’s ruling has temporarily put a halt to the CBN’s plan, and it remains to be seen what the outcome of the notice on notice hearing will be.
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