By Aminu Kutama
The governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states have dragged the Federal Government before the Supreme Court, seeking a restraining order to stop the full implementation of the Naira redesign policy.
Worried by the effects the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s naira redesign policy is having on the residents of their states, in a motion ex-parte filed on their behalf by their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), the three northern states are urging the apex court to grant them an interim injunction stopping the Federal Government either by itself or acting through the CBN, the commercial banks or its agents from carrying out its plan of ending the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira may no longer be legal tender on February 10, 2023.
The Plaintiffs in the suit are the three Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of the three states, while the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is the sole Respondent.
The Plaintiffs said that since the announcement of the new naira note policy, there has been an acute shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States and that citizens who have dutifully deposited their old naira notes have increasingly found it difficult and sometimes next to impossible to access new naira notes to go about their daily activities.
They also cited the inadequacy of the notice coupled with the haphazard manner in which the exercise is being carried out and the attendant hardship same is wrecking on Nigerians, which has been well acknowledged even by the Federal Government of Nigeria itself.
The Plaintiffs further maintained that the ten-day extension by the Federal Government is still insufficient to address the challenges bedeviling the policy.
Recall that over the weekend, the CBN Governor at a press conference held in Lagos insisted that that the apex bank will not extend the deadline for swapping old naira notes with the newly redesigned ones.
In the suit filed at the apex court, the Plaintiffs have also filed a motion on notice to abridge the time within which the Respondent may file and serve his Counter-Affidavit to this Suit and an order for an accelerated hearing of this matter.
The states are seeking a declaration that the Demonetization Policy of the Federation being currently carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject.
They are also asking the court to make a declaration that the three-month notice given by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria under the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the expiration of which will render the old Banknotes inadmissible as legal tender, is in gross violation of the provisions of Section 20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 which specifies that Reasonable Notice must be given before such a policy.