Court Order – Supreme Court Faults CBN Naira Redesign Policy, Says Old Notes Remain Legal Tender
On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) naira redesign policy, which had recently plunged the country into economic anarchy.
The country’s highest court ruled that the policy violated the 1999 constitution and ordered that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes continue to be in use until December 31, 2023.
The decision prevented President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN from implementing the naira redesign policy to its full extent.
The court issued a restraining order against Buhari, preventing him from withdrawing the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes that are still in use, in its decision on the lawsuit brought by 16 states and led by Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and his counterparts in Zamfara and Kogi States, Bello Matawalle and Yahaya Bello.
The Supreme Court found that the President “did not follow the provisions of the constitution before implementing the policy” in the ruling read by Justice Emmanuel Agim.
According to the court, the National Economic Council and National Security Council were not consulted before the policy was implemented.
As a result, the court decided that both the old and new banknotes could be used until December 31, 2023.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, and the governors of Zamfara and Kogi states, Bello Matawalle and Yahaya Bello, respectively, filed the original lawsuit contesting the policy, demanding an extension of the February 10 deadline set by the CBN to end the legal tender status of the old notes.
States like Lagos, Rivers, Cross River, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, and Sokoto joined as co-plaintiffs at the first hearing before Justice John Okoro on February 15, while Bayelsa and Edo States joined as respondents on behalf of the Federal Government.
As more states desired to participate in the case, the number of co-plaintiffs gradually increased to sixteen.
The Supreme Court, a panel of seven justices chaired by Justice Okoro, postponed the case during the preliminary hearing until Wednesday, February 22, and then again until March 3, when the final decision was rendered.
In the heat of the debate, Buhari, in a speech on February 16, gave a directive that the old N200 notes would be reissued to run alongside the newly designed notes in a bid to douse tension caused by the policy.