According to the Supreme Court, its February 8 order prohibiting the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes remains in effect.
The court issued the clarification on Wednesday in response to a complaint by Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), a lawyer for Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states, that the Fed Govt and its agencies had failed to comply with the order and had allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes.
According to Mustapha, the plaintiff filed a notice of noncompliance with the court order issued on February 8. And demanded that the court take action against the respondent in order to protect the court’s dignity.
“That order has been flouted by the government,” he added. We are discussing executive lawlessness here. We have filed an affidavit in this regard… We would like the court to renew the order so that the parties can be properly guided.”
Justice John Okoro, who presided over a seven-member court panel, asked Mustapha to file a proper application in order to present his complaints and allow the respondent to respond appropriately.
The court’s order, according to Justice Okoro, does not need to be renewed.
He noted that because the court’s order on February 8 was made pending the determination of the plaintiff’s motion for injunctions, the order still stands because the motion has yet to be heard.
“After a careful consideration of this ex-parte application, and the grounds in support of same, this court finds that there is real urgency for this court to intervene by the grant of this application,” the court said in its February 8 ruling.
“As a result, this application is granted as prayed.
“That is to say, an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria, either by itself or through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and/or commercial banks, its agents; agencies, corporations, ministries, parastatals, organizations, or through any person or persons (natural and artificial) howsoever, from suspending, determining, or terminating on the 10th of February 2023 the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 annum notes will be issued.”
However, the Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on February 22 for the suit filed by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Government’s naira swap policy.
The court set the date after the Attorneys General of Katsina, Lagos, CR, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, and Sokoto states joined the earlier suit filed by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states as co-plaintiffs.
The Attorneys General of Edo and Bayelsa states were also named as co-respondents by the court. Both states chose to support the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who had been listed as the sole respondent.
The court ordered that the separate suits filed by Nasarawa, Rivers, and Kano states on the same issue be consolidated with those filed by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states.
The court ordered that all necessary documents be filed by next Wednesday’s hearing.
Before adjourning, Justice Okoro instructed the AGF’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), to advise his client on how to ensure the availability of currency for the people.
“Tell your client to give people money. If they go to the ATM, the plaintiffs will appear and withdraw their case. Make money available to the masses of the poor.
“You should understand that a hungry man is an angry man. “I say no more,” he declared.
Agabi responded that Nigerians were only blaming the government for their poverty.
“Many people are impoverished. They blame the Federal Reserve and the AGF. I don’t have any money either.
“Things haven’t been going well for a long time. “The problems did not begin today,” Agabi stated.
Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and Yahaya Bello of Kogi states were in court to witness the proceedings.
Following the court proceedings, Bello stated that the states are not at odds with the Fed Government over its cashless policy, but are only concerned about the negative impact on citizens who are now denied access to their funds.