Nigeria’s judicial apex body, the Supreme Court has nullified the Federal Government’s Naira redesign Policy, declaring it an affront to the 1999 Constitution.
The court also ordered that the 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes to remain in circulation till December 31, 2023.
The apex court on Wednesday 3rd March, in a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, held that the old banknotes should remain valid legal tenders until December 31, 2023.
It held that the old Naira notes should be used concurrently with the redesigned Naira notes.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, who read the lead judgement, stated that the preliminary objections by the defendants (the Attorney General of the Federation, Bayelsa and Edo states) are dismissed as the court has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
The court said the naira redesign policy has led to some people engaging in trade by barter in this modern age in a bid to survive, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship.
According to Justice Agbim, ‘the position of the president as Agent of the federation imposed a duty of consultation on him. Not to do so makes him a dictator.
I hold that no reasonable notice was given by the CBN under section 20 of the CBN Act. The directive is invalid and I hereby declare it so.
I am not aware of any law which empowers a bank to withhold a customer’s money and refused to give him/her. The directive on withdrawal limit is an infringement of people’s rights.
In other countries, decisions to change currencies follow due process and in accordance with democratic dictates, not after a side talk with their central bank chiefs .
Our rule of law becomes illusory if a President refuses to obey the court.’