It appears the prayers of an average Nigerian, over the scarcity of the newly redesigned Naira notes and the withdrawal of the old Naira notes from circulation, as legal tenders from February 10, has finally been heard.
This is because the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has temporarily halted the Federal Government, FG’s move to ban the use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes.
The Apex Court gave the judgment in an exparte application filed by the Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi State Governments against the FG’s plans to stop the use of the old Naira notes.
The State Governments had applied for an order of interim injunction, restraining the FG, through the Central Bank of Nigeria or the commercial banks, from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame in which the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes would cease from being legal tenders.
Moving the application on Wednesday, Counsel to the Applicants, Mr A. I. Mustapha, SAN, urged the Apex Court to grant the application in the interest of justice and the well-being of Nigeria.
Mustapha argued that the policy of the government had led to an “excruciating situation that is almost leading to anarchy in the country “.
While referring to a CBN statistics, which put the number of people, who do not have bank accounts as over 60 percent, Mustapha lamented that the few Nigerians with bank accounts cannot even access their monies from the bank, as a result of the policy.
The SAN further noted that unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the situation may lead to anarchy because most banks are already closing operations.
Delivering his ruling, the seven-man panel led by Justice John Okoro held that after a careful consideration of the motion exparte, the 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, 2023, 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”.
He accordingly adjourned to February 15, 2023 for hearing.