BREAKING: Supreme Court Adjourns Suit on Old Naira Notes
By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has adjourned the hearing of the suit filed by governors challenging the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Wednesday, February 22.
The CBN had initially set January 31 as the deadline for old notes to be in circulation but extended it in response to pressure from Nigerians.
Before the February 10 deadline, Kogi, Kaduna, and Zamfara States approached the Supreme Court, seeking to restrain the CBN from going ahead with the deadline.
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, and Ogun.
During the hearing, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) announced his appearance for the Kaduna State Government, while Damian Dodo (SAN) represented Bayelsa State and sought to be joined in the matter as a co-defendant.
Edo State also joined as a co-defendant with the federal government.
Kanu Agabi and Mahmud Magaji (both SANs) appeared 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 seven paragraphs and affidavits.
The panel ordered the amendment of processes to group states – Katsina, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Cross River, and Sokoto – joining as co-plaintiffs to the suit by Kaduna State together.
Mustapha drew the panel’s attention to the federal government’s alleged flouting of the court’s order last week by not complying with the extension of the use of the old naira notes. But Agabi objected, arguing that the claim was based on “rumours out there.”
The panel said the issue cannot be attended to immediately until all the processes are filed and served. But Mustapha insisted that the federal government is acting in executive recklessness by going ahead to ignore the order.
He, therefore, insisted that the extension should subsist.
The panel advised that the processes be filed and served on Friday and replies done on Monday to enable hearing on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) sought to move a separate application by the Rivers State Government.
Similarly, counsel to the Kano State Government, Sunusi Musa (SAN), sought to move their separate motion challenging the powers of the federal government to unilaterally impose the currency policy on citizens of the state without the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and Council of State.
However, Justice Okoro advised both Rivers and Kano to consolidate their suits with the other existing suits. The panel fixed all the suits for hearing on Wednesday, February 22.