Amidst Uproars, Adamant FG Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Deadline for Old Naira Notes
Despite public concerns and protests over the hardship inflicted on Nigerians especially rural dwellers by the new policy and February 10 deadline for use of new naira notes, the Federal Government of Nigeria appears unwilling to bulge.
THECONSCIENCEng reports that the government has asked the supreme court to dismiss a suit filed by three states challenging the February 10 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to end the use of old naira notes.
In a preliminary objection filed on Wednesday through his lawyers, Mahmud Magaji and Tijanni Gazali, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) argued that the supreme court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
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The AGF contended that “the plaintiffs have equally not shown reasonable cause of action against the defendant”.
Earlier on Wednesday, a seven-member panel of the apex court led by John Okoro gave a temporary ruling in favour of a suit filed by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara seeking to restrain the federal government from implementing the February 10 deadline for the use of the old naira notes.
In its ruling, the apex court temporarily restrained the federal government from banning the old naira notes, pending the determination of the suit.
In a motion ex-parte filed before the supreme court, the three states are praying the court to grant an interim injunction stopping the Central Bank of Nigeria (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.
They argued that citizens who have deposited their old currency notes have increasingly found it difficult, and sometimes next to impossible, to access the new notes for their daily activities.
Aside from the unavailability of the new notes, the plaintiffs also submitted that the notice period given by the federal government was inadequate.
However, in opposition to the suit, the AGF claimed that the suit ought to have been instituted before a federal high court and not the supreme court as done by the plaintiffs.
“The plaintiffs’ suit is about the power vested on the Central Bank of Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 to call in its banknotes and introduce new ones,” the notice reads.
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“This suit as presently constituted falls under section 251(1)(a)(p)(q) & (r) of the Constitution (exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court) by virtue of the subject matter and parties.
“The instant suit is an abuse of judicial process. That it is in the interest of justice to strike out this suit. That the plaintiffs will not be prejudiced if this preliminary objection is upheld.