The Supreme Court of Nigeria has nullified President Muhammadu Buhari’s Order, which stated that the old N500 and N1000 naira notes are no more legal tender.
The apex court on Friday ruled that the Central Bank of Nigeria must allow both the old naira notes and the new ones to circulate side by side till the end of 2023.
Earlier, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states instituted a suit against the federal government seeking a restraining order to stop the full implementation of the naira redesign policy of the CBN.
In a motion ex-parte filed before the supreme court, the three states are praying the court to grant an interim injunction stopping the CBN from ending the timeframe within which the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes will cease to be legal tender.
The plaintiffs said since the announcement of the policy, there has been an acute shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in their states, adding that citizens who have dutifully deposited their old currency notes have increasingly found it difficult and sometimes next to impossible to access the new notes for their daily activities.
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Buhari, in a national broadcast, however, extended the validity of the old N200 notes till April 10, 2023 while the case was still pending in court.
The president addressed the nation following a series of protests across the country on Wednesday over scarcity of new naira notes.
In its judgment, the apex court took a swipe at President Buhari for disobeying its interim order of February 8 to the effect that the old naira is allowed to be in circulation.It proceeded to set aside the cash limit directive given to banks by the CBN.
The court’s seven-member panel, expressed displeasure that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to obey its February 8 order for parties to allow the old notes to co-exist with the new ones.
It said the conduct was a disrespect of the Constitution and the nation”s democracy, and a drift towards authoritarianism.
The court held that the suit by the states was properly filed and dismissed all the objections raised by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Bayelsa and Edo states.