Court restrains Buhari, CBN from extending Feb 10 deadline on use of naira notes
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, has compelled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 27 commercial banks to go ahead with the full implementation of the naira redesign policy, restraining President Muhammadu Buhari from further extending the deadline.
In a motion by four political parties, namely Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and National Rescue Movement (NRM), the court, presided over by Justice Eleojo Enenche, also granted an order directing the CEOs of the 27 commercial banks and their alter egos to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the country by their illegal hoarding, withholding, not paying or disbursing the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes despite supply of such notes by CBN.
Delivering a ruling, yesterday, in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2234/2023, the court restrained CBN from extending the deadline on the use of old naira notes pending the determination of the suit. The order will be for an initial period of seven days until the motion of notice is heard on February 14.
“An order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants, whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever not to suspend, stop, extend, vary or interfere with the extant termination date of use of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 bank notes, being February 10, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice,” the court held.
The judge also made an order of interim injunction “directing and mandating the defendants whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever described to comply with, implement and give effect to the currency redesign and restructuring of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 bank notes on or before the last day of February 10, pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice.”
The court further directed bank heads, chief executive officers, managing directors and/or alter egos “to forthwith show cause as to why they shall not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by their illegal act of hoarding, withholding, nor paying or disbursing the new N200, N500 and N1000 bank note, being the legal tender of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to their respective customers, despite supplies of such currency note by the second and third defendants, thereby leading to the present scarcity of currency notes in circulation.”
The order of the court has rendered futile all behind-the-scene efforts, especially by governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to force the hand of the President to reverse the naira swap policy or at least further extend its deadline.