Anxiety as Nigerians await S’Court ruling on govs’ suit against Naira swap deadline
Nigerians are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on a significant lawsuit that the governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi states filed today.
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Naira swap policy is being sought to be extended by Nasir El-Rufai and his counterparts Bello Matawalle and Yahaya Bello, respectively, in their lawsuit (CBN).
The CBN had set February 10 as the cutoff date for the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes to stop being accepted as legal tender in Nigeria; the governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, had insisted on different occasions that the cutoff date would not be extended.
The three governors petitioned the Supreme Court to order the CBN to extend the deadline after becoming outraged by the difficulties Nigerians had to endure in trying to access their money that had been trapped in banks as a result of the policy.
Governors of Rivers, Ogun, Kano, Ondo, and Ekiti States have since joined the three governors’ original lawsuit.
The plaintiffs sought, among other things, “a declaration that the demonetisation policy of the federation, as it is currently being carried out by the CBN under the directive of the president, was not in compliance with the extant provisions of the constitution and CBN Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject” in the suit with the filing number SC/CV/162/2023 on February 3.
In addition, they requested “a declaration that the three-month notice given by the federal government through the CBN under the directive of the president, the expiration of which was expected to render the old banknotes inadmissible as legal tender, was in gross violation of the provisions of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, which specifies that reasonable notice must be given before such a policy”
In response to the governors’ lawsuit, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, swiftly filed an objection contesting the apex court’s jurisdiction to hear the motion, arguing that under Section 251(1)(a)(p)(q) & (r) of the Constitution, only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over such matters.
Expectations are that the Supreme Court’s decision today will be favorable and lessen the sufferings that Nigerians are currently experiencing as a result of the CBN policy as they wait for the outcome.