Lagos Judicial Registry Turns Back Lawyers, Litigants, Over Old Naira Notes

– Says Old Notes Unacceptable, As Polaris, FCMB, UBA & Fidelity Banks Reject Currency

It was obviously a bad day for lawyers and litigants, who trooped to the Lagos Court’s Registry, to file their processes with old Naira notes, on Monday, as they were turned back by officials of the Registry, insisting their banks were no longer accepting the old currency, as legal tender.

Specifically, the account officials at the Court Registry said attempts to pay-in old Naira notes collected by them into the government’s account was denied by Polaris Bank.

The Court officials announced that henceforth lawyers and litigants must not come with the old Naira notes, because it would no longer be acceptable by them.

They further noted that the only currency acceptable for filing of Court processes now in the Lagos Judiciary Registry is the new Naira notes sanctioned by the Governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, as confirmed by their bankers.

One of the affected lawyer, who decided to stay anonymous, confirmed that the Registry at Osborne Division of Lagos High Court also rejected the old Naira note and subsequently turned him back from filling his processes.

He noted that the problem is not particularly the judiciary officials, but the CBN governor, who is visiting anarchy on the nation by jettisoning the Supreme Court order.

“Non acceptance of old Naira notes would be catastrophe to the nation. The highest Court in the land, Supreme Court, ordered has been flouted with impunity.

“It is obvious that the CBN, especially Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is ready to impose state of anachy on Nigeria by directing banks against the order of the Apex Court.”

The Supreme Court had on February 8, 2023 under an interim order, restrained the CBN from going ahead with the enforcement of its February 10, deadline for the use of old Naira notes.

The Apex Court had also ordered the CBN not to put an end to the use of old Naira notes, as earlier announced.

A seven-member panel of the Court led by Justice John Okoro gave the order amid acute scarcity of the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

The interim order was given temporarily based on an application filed by three northern states being controlled by the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, namely: Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara.

The CBN had in December 2022 introduced the new Naira notes, amid efforts to fight corruption, terrorism, counterfeiting and related crimes.

However, Nigerians have had a hard time getting the new notes, amid scarcity and rising tension across the country.

The frustration has led to protests in parts of the country with angry Nigerians vandalizing ATMs and other bank’s facilities.

As at the time of filing this report, Polris Bank’s Spokesperson, Rasheed Bolarinwa, when contacted, claimed to be in a meeting and he is yet to reply to questions sent to him, following several calls.

Investigation reveals that other deposit banks rejecting the old Naira notes include FCMB, UBA and Fidelity.

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