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Presidency dismisses reports on disobeying Supreme Court ruling on legality of currencies


 The Presidency has dismissed as false the assertion that the Federal Government or the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had refused to recognise old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes as legal tender despite a Supreme Court ruling.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Zamfara, Kaduna and Kogi had approached the Supreme Court of Nigeria for reliefs on behalf of their citizens to challenge the Feb. 10, CBN deadline for old naira notes to cease to be legal tender.

The Supreme Court in its ruling on Feb. 8, directed all parties to maintain the status quo and quashed the Feb.10, 2023 deadline till the determination of the case which was adjourned to Feb. 15, 2023.

However, financial institutions including banks as well as filling stations, supermarkets and other business owners have continued to reject the old Naira notes despite the Supreme Court ruling.

Some banks were reported to have based their decision of rejecting the old notes on a circulation emanating from the CBN.

The Governor of the CBN was also quoted at a meeting with diplomats in Abuja on Tuesday as saying that the old notes were no longer legal tender from Feb. 10, 2023.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, late Tuesday night in a statement, however, said:

”We wish to state that it is not true that the Federal Government or the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN have taken a preemptive action on the legality of currency as a legal tender in view of the pendency of the case before the Supreme Court.

”The position of the government and the CBN will be made known upon the determination of the suit coming up tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has adjourned suits filed to challenge and defend the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Wednesday, February 22.

While some state governments led by Kaduna State Government are challenging the deadline for old notes to cease to be legal tender, the federal government joined by Edo and Bayelsa states are in defence of the apex bank.

The CBN had originally fixed January 31 as deadline for old notes to be in circulation but extended it in response to pressure from Nigerians.

However, before the February 10 deadline, Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara States approached the Supreme Court, seeking that the CBN be restrained from going ahead with the deadline.

Ogun governor threatens to shut down Banks rejecting old notes

The court had directed the CBN to rescind its decision pending the hearing of the suit On February 15, but apex court insisted on the deadline, saying on Tuesday that there was no need for another extension.

At the hearing on Wednesday, a seven-man panel presided by Justice Inyang Okoro advised all the state governments represented in the court to follow and abide by the decision to be reached in the motion filed by the Kaduna State Government.

Other states with separate motions on the issue are: Kogi, Zamfara, Niger, Ondo, Ogun.

Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) announced appearance for Kaduna State Government, while Damian Dodo (SAN) represented Bayelsa State, seeking to be joined in the matter as co-defendant. He said the application was filed last Friday.

Edo State also joined as co-defendant with the federal government.

Kanu Agabi and Mahmud Magaji (both SANs) announced appearance for the federal government.

Sam Ologun-Orisa (SAN), representing Katsina was delegated by the court to move on behalf of the states seeking to be joined as co-plaintiffs, while Dodo was asked to move on behalf of states seeking to be joined as co-defendants in the matter.

He moved the application supported by 7 paragraphs and affidavits

The panel ordered the amendment of processes to group states – Katsina, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Cross Rivers and Sokoto – joining as co-plaintiffs to the suit by Kaduna State together.

The panel fixed all the suits for hearing on Wednesday, February 22.

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