Old naira notes remain legal tender, says supreme court

Our reporter/ The supreme court on Wednesday reiterated it’s earlier ruling to the effect that the old Naira note is still a legal tender.

Following the adjournment of the hearing of the case brought against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the naira redesign policy by some state governments, Nigerians are left wondering whether or not the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes remain legal tender.

But the court session held on Wednesday provided clarity on the issue.

Abdulhakeem Mustapha, counsel to Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, asked the court to make an order directing the federal government not to implement a deadline on the old notes.

However, a seven-member panel of the apex court led by John Okoro, said there was no need to issue a fresh order as “the interim order is pending the hearing on the motion on notice”.

Reacting to the pronouncement, Adeola Adedipe, a lawyer, told an online publication the federal government is still bound by the supreme court ruling until the suit is heard and determined.

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It simply means that the interim order subsists pending the determination of that motion having not been set aside,” he told TheCable.

“And if it is perceived that any organ of government that ought to comply with it is in breach, then the plaintiffs know what to do. Which is to commence enforcement proceedings. But the court won’t tell them that.”

The apex court had on February 8, while ruling on an ex parte application brought by three states: Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara, restrained the CBN from giving effect to the deadline on the use of old notes.

The court issued an interim injunction “restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on 10 February, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”.

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Despite the apex court order, some commercial banks, filling stations, and traders have stopped accepting the old naira notes from customers.

Also yesterday, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele told Nigerians that the February 10, deadline for swapping of old Naira notes remains sacrosanct.

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