Anxiety as Nigerians Await S’Court Ruling on Govs’ Suit Against Naira Swap Deadline

There is palpable anxiety in the air as Nigerians await the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling on a substantial suit filed by the Governors of Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi states today.

The suit by Nasir El-Rufai and his counterparts, Bello Matawalle and Yahaya Bello, respectively, is seeking the extension of the the Naira swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN had set February 10 as the deadline for the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes to stop being legal tender in Nigeria, with the governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, at different times, insisting that the deadline would not be extended.

Irked by the hardship Nigerians were made to go through while trying to access their funds trapped in banks as a result of the policy, the three governors went to the Supreme Court to compel the CBN to extend the deadline.
The original suit filed by the three governors has since been joined by the governors of Rivers, Ogun, Kano, Ondo and Ekiti States.

In the suit marked SC/CV/162/2023 and filed on February 3, the plaintiffs sought, among other things, “a declaration that the demonetisation policy of the federation being currently carried out by the CBN under the directive of the president was not in compliance with the extant provisions of the constitution and CBN Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject.”

They also asked for “a declaration that the three-month notice given by the federal government through the CBN under the directive of the president, the expiration of which was expected to render the old banknotes inadmissible as legal tender, was in gross violation of the provisions of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, which specifies that reasonable notice must be given before such a policy.”
To counter the governors’ suit, the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, quickly filed an objection challenging the jurisdiction of the apex court to entertain the motion contending that under Section 251(1)(a)(p)(q) & (r) of the Constitution only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction on such matters.

As Nigerians await the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling today, there are expectations that the apex court will give a favourable ruling that will help to ameliorate sufferings the citizens are currently passing through as a result of the CBN policy.

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