The Supreme Court has restrained the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s from ending the use of the old naira notes on February 10, as earlier announced by the CBN.
The order followed a suit by three state governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states challenging the currency redesigning and demonetisation policy, which sought to halt transactions in the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes to stop being a legal tender.
A seven-member panel of justices presided by Justice John Inyang Okoro, in a unanimous ruling on Wednesday restrained both the federal government and the CBN, ordered commercial banks and others financial institutions from stopping the continuation of transactions with the old naira notes pending the determination of the motion. The motion is fixed for February 15, 2023.
Commenting, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, a former Commissioner of Finance, Imo State said as a law abiding and responsible Institution, I expect the CBN to temporarily halt the implementation of the February 10, deadline for the old 200, 500 and 1000 Naira notes to cease being a legal tender as directed by the Supreme Court pending the determination of a notice on notice on in respect of the issue on February 15.
He said “this period is still within the seven days grace period lasting till February 17 which the CBN had earlier announced for the old notes to be returned to the CBN.”
“All over the world, especially where Central Banks are independent, the conduct of monetary policy is their exclusive preserve- a responsibility not encumbered by either the Executive arm or the Judiciary” he noted.
Prof. Uwaleke said: “It would amount to erosion of the apex Bank’s independence with dire consequences for the economy if the Supreme Court eventually gives a ruling next week that permanently cancels the currency redesign policy.”
“Rather than a permanent halt, what is required is for the CBN to join hands with stakeholders to fine-tune it in view of its many laudable objectives else we end up throwing away the baby and the bath water” he said.
“It now behoves the CBN to assemble a good legal team to argue its case on the strength of the CBN Act of 2007′ he stated.