The Supreme Court has explained why it stopped the Federal Government and others from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old naira notes.
The apex court said its decision to issue an interim injunction restraining the FG and others from enforcing the old naira deadline was because the issue was of real urgency.
The seven-member panel, led by Justice John Okoro, in a unanimous ruling, held that the ex-parte application filed by three States – Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara – raised an issue of real urgency, requiring the intervention of the court.
Justice Okoro said, in the lead ruling that “after 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.
“Accordingly, this application is hereby granted as prayed.
“That is to say, an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria, either by itself or acting through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and/or the commercial banks, its agents; agencies, corporations, ministries, parastatals, organizations or through any person or persons (natural and artificial) howsoever, from suspending or determining or ending on the 10th of February 2023 the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender, pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs/applicants’ motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
Justice Okoro adjourned till February 15 for the hearing of the motion on notice filed by the three states for interlocutory injunctions pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The judge ordered the parties to file all necessary documents before the next date.
Other members of the panel – Justices Amina Augie, Mohammed Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Tijani Abubakar and Emmanuel Agim – agreed with the lead ruling.
The lawyer to Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) had while moving the ex-parte application, said it was in the interest of the country and to prevent impending anarchy for the court to grant the order sought
“The excruciating situation created by this policy is almost leading to anarchy in the country today,” he said, noting that some banks have already shut their doors to customers.
“If this policy is not halted, it could lead to anarchy. This application is brought in the interest of the country so that it will not burn,” Mustapha said.
The three states had on February 3 sued the Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), querying among others, the timing and propriety of the naira redesign policy and the short deadline imposed for the phasing out of the old notes.
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