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Thursday, 23 February 2023

Supreme Court fixes March 3 for judgement on Naira Crisis

The Supreme Court yesterday slated March 3 to deliver judgement on a consolidated suit 16 states filed to nullify the decision of the Federal Government to ban the use of old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes as valid legal tenders.

A seven-man panel of the apex court okayed the matter for judgement after all the parties adopted their briefs of arguments.

The development came on a day the court warned that it would not allow either the  federal government or the aggrieved states to turn the Judiciary to a scapegoat in the legal dispute trailing the new monetary policy that was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Head of the panel, Justice Inyang Okoro, bemoaned the fact that the dispute had placed the judiciary in the eye of the storm.

“With the way this matter is going, they want to make the judiciary a scapegoat but we can’t allow that. 

“We are going to hear everything and take our decision”, Justice Okoro added.

Though only three northern states- Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara- initially approached the court to challenge the planned full implementation of the Naira swap policy by the CBN, however, at the end of the proceedings on Wednesday, the number of states that declared their interest in the matter increased to 15.

The states that persuaded the apex court to join them as interested parties in the suit, were; Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano, Rivers, Nasarawa, Niger, Abia, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s homestate, Katsina.

Plea by Plateau state to be joined on Wednesday was rejected by the court which asked all other states to await its decision on the matter.

All the suits the apex court consolidated and heard together, were marked: SC/CV/162/23, SC/CS/197/23, SC/CV/200/23, SC/CV/210, SC/CV/227, SC/CV/229/23, SC/CV/222/23 and SC/CV/303/23.

Even though only the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was initially cited as the sole defendant in the matter, however, both Edo and Bayelsa states filed applications to be joined as co-defendants in the case. 

The two states, through their respective Attorneys-General, said they were fully in support of both FG and the CBN.

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