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Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara drag Nigerian govt to court over scarcity of new notes



The governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states have sought to bring the Federal government before the Supreme Court in an effort to obtain a restraining order to prevent the full implementation of the CBN’s naira redesign policy. They are concerned about the effects it is having on the citizens of their states.

The three northern states are asking the Supreme Court to grant them an interim injunction to prevent the Federal Government from carrying out its plan to end the timeframe within which the now-outdated 200, 500, and 1000 Naira denominations may no longer be legal tender on February 10 in a motion ex-parte filed on their behalf by their attorney, AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), on Monday.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is the only Respondent in the case. The three Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of the three states are the Plaintiffs.

In an affidavit filed in support of the suit and sworn to by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kaduna State, Aisha Dikko, she averred that although the naira redesign policy was introduced to encourage the cashless policy of the Federal government, it wa not all transactions that can be conveniently carried out through electronic means.

The plaintiffs claimed that there has been a severe shortage of new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara States since the announcement of the new policy, and that citizens who have dutifully deposited their old naira notes are finding it harder and harder—and occasionally impossible—to obtain new naira notes to carry out their daily activities.

They also criticized the notice’s inadequacy, the exercise’s sloppy execution, and the associated misery it is causing Nigerians, which has been publicly acknowledged even by the Federal Government of Nigeria itself.

“That the majority of the indigenes of the Plaintiffs’ states who reside in the rural areas have been unable to exchange or deposit their old naira notes as there are no banks in the rural areas where the majority of the population of the states reside.

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“Most people in rural areas of the Plaintiffs’ states do not have bank accounts and have so far been unable to deposit their life savings which are still in the old naira notes.

“There is restiveness amongst the people in the various states because of the hardship being suffered by the people, and the situation will sooner than later degenerate into the breakdown of law and order.

“The Plaintiff State Governments cannot stand by as they are duty-bound to protect citizens in their states and prevent the breakdown of law and order.

“The Plaintiff State Governments cannot stand by as they are duty-bound to protect citizens in their states and prevent the breakdown of law and order.

“I know that if the Federal Government of Nigeria had given sufficient and reasonable time for the naira redesign policy, all the current hardship and loss being experienced by the Plaintiffs’ State Governments as well as people in the various states would have been avoided.

“I know that the 10-day extension by the Federal Government is still insufficient to address the challenges bedevilling the policy. I also understand that the Federal Government cannot bar Nigerians from redeeming their old naira notes at any time, even though the senior notes are no longer legal tender.

“Unless this Honourable Court intervenes, the Government and people of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara State will continue to go through a lot of hardship and would ultimately suffer great loss as a result of the insufficient and unreasonable time within which the Federal Government is embarking on the ongoing currency redesign policy,” she stated.

The Plaintiffs added that the Federal Government’s ten-day extension is still insufficient to address the problems plaguing the scheme.

In the suit filed at the apex court, the Plaintiffs have also filed a motion on notice to abridge the time within which the Respondent may file and serve his Counter-Affidavit to this Suit and an order for an accelerated hearing of this matter.

The states are seeking a declaration that the Demonetization Policy of the Federation being currently carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not in compliance with the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 and actual laws on the subject.

They are also requesting a ruling from the court declaring that the three-month notice given by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria in accordance with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, upon expiration of which the old banknotes will no longer be accepted as legal tender, is in flagrant violation of Section 20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 which specifies that Reasonable Notice must be given before such a policy.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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