The states of Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi have petitioned the Supreme Court to address the scarcity of old and new Naira notes caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) naira redesign policy.
The state governments expressed concern about the impact of the CBN’s naira redesign policy on their residents.
As a result, they are asking the Supreme Court to issue a restraining order to prevent the government and CBN from implementing the policy.
The states filed an ex-parte motion through their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), urging the Supreme Court to grant them an interim injunction preventing the Federal Government, acting alone or through the CBN, commercial banks, or its agents, from carrying out its plan to end the timeframe within which the now-older versions of the 200, 500, and 1000 Naira denominations will no longer be legal tender on February 10, 2023.
“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,” Mustapha said.
The three Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of the three states are the Plaintiffs in the suit, while the sole Respondent is the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
According to the states, there has been a shortage of new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara, and citizens who have dutifully deposited their old naira notes have increasingly found it difficult, if not impossible, to access new naira notes to go about their daily activities.
The states claimed that the CBN policy is causing significant hardship for Nigerians, and that the Federal Government’s ten-day extension is insufficient to address the challenges of Nigerians exchanging old Naira notes for new ones.
“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.
“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.
“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.