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NAIRA: Emefiele slammed with lawsuit over disregard to court orders



Tope Alabi, an activist lawyer based in Lagos, has approached the Federal High Court in Lagos for permission to bring contempt charges against Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for allegedly disobeying the Supreme Court’s rulings over the CBN’s currency redesign strategy.

Alabi filed the request as an ex parte move in the case on March 27, with Emefiele named as the only respondent.

He called the naira swap a “cash confiscation policy” and claimed it had a negative impact on how his office was run on a daily basis because his staff members were unable to bring physical cash to work. Alabi also claimed that commercial drivers “do not have point of sale (POS) device/machine to collect fares.”

The lawyer filed a 28-page affidavit in support of his application wherein he claimed that the Supreme Court on March 10, in Suit No. SC. 162/2023, “directed Emefiele to make available and allow the old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1000 to co-exist as legal tender with the new N200, N500 and N1000 notes till December 2023.”

“The respondent who had withdrawn N200, N500 and 1000 old notes from circulation on 10 February 2023 has refused to comply with the Order of the Supreme Court made on 10 March 2023 till date by releasing the old notes to circulation.”

READ ALSO: Tinubu’s aide, Onanuga, calls for sack of CBN governor, Emefiele

Emefiele’s initial non-compliance to the Supreme Court Order, according to Alabi, “has damaged my job as a legal practitioner since I could not have access to daily physical currency to carry out my business and meet modest daily expenses.”

“That I brought this application to seek leave to enforce the Supreme Court Order being a non-party to the suit at the Supreme Court,” the lawyer noted in the suit.

Over the weekend, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.

Also, the CBN has ordered all commercial banks to be open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Isa AbdulMumin, the CBN’s acting director of corporate communications, made this announcement in Abuja on Friday. He said the commercial banks had received a sizeable sum of money in a variety of denominations for distribution to their respective customers.

He claimed that the CBN had instructed all banks to operate physically in the banking halls over the weekends in addition to loading their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

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