UPDATED: Supreme court fixes March 3 for judgment in suit on naira swap deadline

Our reporter| The supreme court has fixed march 3 for judgment in the suit challenging the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The seven-member panel of the apex court made the disclosure at the resumed hearing of the case in Abuja.

The Apex court had earlier in the day, consolidated the suits instituted by the 10 state governments against the Federal Government challenging the implementation of the naira redesign.

The states are seeking to restrain the federal government from giving effect to the deadline on the use of old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

The supreme court had earlier in the month restrained the CBN from giving effect to the deadline following an ex parte application brought by the three states.

The plaintiffs are arguing that the implementation of the policy has caused untold hardship for Nigerians.

Kaduna and Kogi states, represented by Abdulhakeem Mustapha, asked the supreme court to set aside the preliminary objection of the AGF in opposition to the suit for being in contempt of the supreme court order of February 8.

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Jigawa state, represented by Abiodun Owonikoko, asked the court to set aside the directive in President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech delivered on February 15.

“We urge the court to set aside the directive of President Buhari limiting the supreme court’s directive to only the old N200 note. It is a disrespect to the authority of the court,” he said.

Moyosore Onigbanjo, attorney-general of Lagos, asked the court to prohibit the AGF or his principal, President Buhari, from being granted an audience until they comply with the order made on February 8.

He said the suit was not filed for Lagos residents but for the state government itself.

“The policy has impacted on Lagos state and is affecting the government from carrying out its constitutional functions,” he said.

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However, commencing his arguments, counsel for the Federal Government, Kanu Agabi, said the Supreme Court held that all reliefs are rooted in section 20 of the CBN Act, therefore, the apex court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit as the action cannot commence with an Originating Summons.

He wondered why the plaintiffs did not bring the CBN governor to court as a respondent, after making reference to him 32 times in their Originating Summons.

He said the reliefs are against the CBN, yet they didn’t deem it fit to bring the CBN into the matter. He added that Nigerians had already began rejecting the old notes way before the President’s directive. He insisted that the President is not in violation of the Supreme Court order as under the constitution, the President is empowered to veto any legislation.

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