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Supreme reaffirms its position on naira swap, old naira notes  still legal tender 




On Wednesday, February 15th, the  Supreme Court  confirmed  the validity of the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes, allowing them to continue circulating as the legal tender.

The highest court in Nigeria maintained that the hearing of February  8th  had  paused the implementation of the February 10th deadline ban on the use of old naira notes.

The court  clarified its stance on the matter  following a complaint by Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), lawyer to the Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states respectively.

It had earlier been  reported  that a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court last Wednesday, February 8th, in an unanimous ruling granted an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s February 10th deadline for the swapping of the old naira notes with the new ones.

The judgement followed a motion ex-parte on behalf of three northern states Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, who on February 3rd filed a suit seeking to halt the implementation of the CBN’s policy.

On Wednesday, February 15th, the apex court adjourned a hearing in the suit banning the use of the old naira to Wednesday, 22nd February 2023.

This is coming after nine other states  joined the suit initially filed by Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara states.

The states are Katsina, Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Sokoto states bringing the new total of plaintiffs to ten. On the other hand, Edo and Bayelsa have filed to be joined as respondents.

The seven-man panel led by Justice John Okoro ordered them to amend their processes to be heard as one.

While speaking during the proceeding, Mustapha said the apex government and its agencies have allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes thereby failing to comply with the February 8th court order.

According to him, the plaintiff filed a notice of non-compliance with the court order made on February 8th.

“The order has been flouted by the government. We are talking of executive lawlessness here. We have filed an affidavit to that effect… We want the court to renew the order for parties to be properly guided,” he said.

In his response, Justice Okoro asked Mustapha to file a proper application and put forward his complaints. This, he said, would enable the respondent to respond appropriately.

According to Okoro, there was no need for a renewal of the court’s order since the order made by the court on February 8th was made pending the determination of the motion for injunctions filed by the plaintiff.

He, however, maintained that the order still subsists since the motion was not yet heard.

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