Supreme Court extends use of old Naira till Dec 31


The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Federal Government to allow the old Naira notes to continue as legal tender until Dec. 31, 2023.

In a unanimous judgment, a seven-member panel of justices presided by Justice Inyang Okoro on Friday held that the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the redesigning and withdrawal of old notes of N200, N500 and N1000, without consultation with the states, the Federal Executive Council and the National Council of State, was unconstitutional.

The apex court observed that no reasonable notice was given before the implementation of the policy as provided under the CBN Act.

The lead judgment read by Justice Emmanuel Agim also dismissed the preliminary objection by the federal government challenging the jurisdiction of the apex court to hear the suits by the 16 states challenging the currency policy.

“The position of the president as Agent of the federation imposed a duty of consultation on him. Not to do so makes him a dictator.

“I hold that no reasonable notice was given by the CBN under section 20 of the CBN Act. The directive is invalid and I hereby declare it so.

“I am not aware of any law which empowers a bank to withhold a customer’s money and refused to give him/her. The directive on withdrawal limit is an infringement of people’s rights.

“In other countries, decisions to change currencies follow due process and in accordance with democratic dictates, not after a side talk with their central bank chiefs .

“Our rule of law becomes illusory if a President refuses to obey the court,” noted Justice Agim

The panel held that the CBN, being an agent of the federal government, need not be joined as a party in the matter.