Supreme Court stops CBN’s withdrawal of old naira notes
A seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro halted the move in a ruling in an ex parte application brought by three northern states of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.
The three states had specifically applied for an order of Interim Injunction restraining “the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, the time frame with which the now older version of the N200, N500 and N1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
Delivering the ruling in the motion, Mr Okoro held that after careful consideration of the motion ex parte, this application is granted as prayed.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 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,” said the judge.
He accordingly adjourned until February 15 for a hearing of the main suit.
Moving the application on Wednesday, counsel to the applicants, Mr A. I. Mustapha, urged the apex court to grant the application in the interest of justice and the well-being of Nigeria.
He stated that the policy of the government has led to an “excruciating situation that is almost leading to anarchy in the land.”
While he referred to CBN statistics which put the number of people who don’t have bank accounts at over 60 per cent, Mr Mustapha lamented that the few Nigerians with bank accounts could not even access their monies from the bank as a result of the policy.
The lawyer further argued that unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the situation will lead to anarchy because most banks are already closing operations.
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