The Federal government’s plan to outlaw the use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes as legal tender starting on February 10 has been temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The order was issued by the Supreme Court in response to an exparte application brought before it by the governments of Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi against plans by the FG to discontinue the usage of the old Naira notes.
The three states had requested an order of temporary injunction prohibiting the FG from suspending, deciding, or ending on February 10, 2023, the period of time during which the older versions of the N200, N500, and N1000 notes may no longer be accepted as legal money.
The petitioners’ attorney, Mr. A. I. Mustapha, SAN, moved the application today and pleaded with the supreme court to approve it in the name of justice and the welfare of Nigeria. According to Mustapha, the government’s policies have created a “excruciating situation that is practically going to anarchy in the land”.
Mustapha bemoaned that, as a result of the policy, the few Nigerians who do have bank accounts are unable to even access their funds from the bank, despite statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) placing the number of persons without bank accounts at over 60%.
The senior attorney added that since the majority of banks are already shutting down their activities, if the Supreme Court does not step in, the situation will result in chaos.
An order of Interim Injunction prohibiting the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending, determining, or ending on February 10, 2023, the time period with which the now-outdated 200, 500, and 1,000 denominations of the naira will continue to be legal tender was granted, according to the seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro in its ruling on the motion.
As a result, he postponed the hearing until February 15, 2023.