The Federal Government, FG, has finally announced its decision to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, suspending the February 10 deadline for the validity of the old Naira notes.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, announcement in an interview with journalists in Abuja, on Thursday.
Malami said the government is hopeful that the ruling on the ex-parte application, which expires on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, would be vacated.
He noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which is a necessary party to the issue, was not joined in the suit, stressing that the Apex Court lacks jurisdiction to decide on the matter in the first instance.
He, however, stressed that the decision of the federal government to obey the Supreme Court’s ruling on the old Naira notes deadline was based on the administration’s inclination to the rule of law.
The Minister of Justice had earlier asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the suit filed by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara State Governments, challenging the February 10 deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
He, in a preliminary objection, filed by the federal government Counsels, Mahmud Magaji and Tijanni Gazali, insisted that the Apex Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He also asked the Court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction, adding that “the plaintiffs have equally not shown reasonable cause of action against the defendant.”
Malami further argued that the suit falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court under matters of Monetary Policy of an Agency of the Federal Government.
The three northern states had in a motion ex-parte filed before the Supreme Court, prayed 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 would cease to be legal tender.
They insisted that the 10-day extension was insufficient to address the challenges plaguing the new policy.
The plaintiffs also filed a motion on notice to abridge the time within which the respondent might file and serve a counter-affidavit for an accelerated hearing.
The Apex Court, in the meantime, temporarily stopped the Federal Government from banning the use of the old Naira notes from February 10, 2023.
The matter has been adjourned until February 15, 2023, for hearing.