Courts reject old Naira notes, send lawyer, litigants away
The inability of attorneys and litigants to file court documents using the old naira notes as payment caused chaos on Monday at the high courts in Lagos State.
The old naira notes were rejected by high court registries staff because banks no longer recognized them as legal tender.
The ongoing naira crisis that the nation is experiencing takes on a new twist as a result of the development.
Lawyers and litigants were urged to pay account officers at the Lagos Island and Ikeja high court registries in new naira notes, as they had been unsuccessful in getting banks to accept old naira notes from court users.
According to a member of the Ikeja High Court registry who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation, they were told by their boss to stop collecting old currency after four different banks—FCMB, Polaris, UBA, and Fidelity—rejected the old notes they had collected from court users.
The official of the court stated that going forward, only the new naira notes will be accepted from counsel and litigants.
The Osborne Division of the Lagos High Court’s registry, according to one of the affected lawyers who spoke on the phone but asked that his name not be published, rejected the outdated notes and prevented him from completing his processes.
He bemoaned the fact that people were disobeying the Supreme Court’s directive to keep the old naira notes in circulation.
“It would be disastrous for the country if old notes weren’t accepted. Order from the Supreme Court, the highest court in the nation, is routinely disregarded. By ordering banks to violate the Supreme Court’s order, it is clear that the CBN, and particularly CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, is prepared to impose anarchy on Nigeria.
On February 8, 2023, the Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing the CBN from carrying out its plan to enforce its February 10 deadline for the use of the old naira note.
Despite a severe shortage of the newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes, a seven-member court panel chaired by John Okoro issued the order of interim injunction.
In an effort to combat corruption, terrorism, counterfeiting, and related crimes, the CBN unveiled the new notes in December of last year.
Due to a lack of the new notes and escalating tension throughout the nation, Nigerians have had difficulty obtaining them.