By Sulaimon Olanrewaju
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Thursday, kept Nigerians guessing on whether the old N200, N500
and N1,000 would cease to be legal tenders starting from tomorrow or not as the apex bank did not issue any statement on the interim injunction granted by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, restraining the Federal Government from implementing the CBN’s currency swap deadline until Wednes- day, February 15, 2023.
The bank officials contacted by the Nigerian Tribune de- clined to make any comment on the position of the bank.
However, the CBN on its website monitored by 8.30pm on Thursday indicated that the validity of the old currency notes would end today.
Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, had in an ex-parte motion filed on February 3rd, prayed the apex court to halt the CBN naira redesign policy.
The apex court, after giving the ruling, adjourned the matter till Wednesday, February 15, 2023 for the hearing of the substantive case.
In its reaction, the Federal Government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, filed an objection against the Supreme Court.
The AGF, in a preliminary objection filed through his lawyers, Tijanni Gazali and Mahmud Magaji, stated that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
The AGF argued that the plaintiffs had equally not shown reasonable cause of ac- tion against the defendant.
The CBN had announced on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, that it would redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes at a press conference, adding that the new notes would be available from December 15, 2022.
The apex bank had hinged the decision to redesign the currency notes on the need to make the apex bank’s monetary policies effective while entrenching its cashless policy.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who made the announcement, said the new notes would co-exist with the old ones while the old ones would cease to be legal tender as from January 31 2023.
However, due to the scarcity of the new notes which foisted hardship on the people, the CBN on January 29, 2023, announced a 10-day extension of the deadline for the use of old naira notes across the country.
Opinions were divided on the decision of the apex bank to extend the deadline. While some people, including Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate and Mr Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor, wanted the deadline to be further extended, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Peter Obi, Labour Party’s presidential candidate, called on the apex bank to ensure the availability of the new notes rather than extending the deadline.
On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, a Federal Capital Territory High Court, ruling in a motion filed by five political par- ties, issued a restraining order on President Muhammadu Buhari, the CBN Governor and 27 commercial banks from extending the currency swap deadline.
The ruling by the Supreme Court has, however, rendered the High Court order ineffectual.