Finally, the Supreme Court, on Friday, nullified the ban on use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes as legal tenders.
The country, currently, enmeshed in rising debt profile, inflation and poverty, spent close to N400 billion preparing for the 2023 elections, for which the presidential and National Assembly elections are going to be contested in the law courts again
Already, with the tension generated by the controversy over the results of the presidential elections, some Nigerians are seeing the money for the elections as another jamboree since it is claimed not to have met expectations of most Nigerians.
However, the apex court, in a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, held that the old banknotes should remain valid legal tender until December 31.
The implication of the ruling is that the country’s apex court may have effectively nullified the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Supreme Court, in a judgment on the suit filed against the Federal Government’s Naira swap policy, held that the old Naira notes should co-exist with the new notes.
It faulted the directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari to the CBN governor to limit access to cash and held that it was a violation of the right of the owners of such funds to their property.
It proceeded to set aside the cash limit directive given to banks by the CBN.
The Supreme Court’s seven-member panel expressed displeasure that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to obey its February 8 order for parties to allow the old notes to co-exist with the new ones.
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It said the conduct was a disrespect of the Constitution and the nation”s democracy, and a drift towards authoritarianism.
The court held that the suit by the states was properly filed and dismissed all the objections raised by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Bayelsa and Edo states.