As the scarcity of old and new Naira notes lingers, the Governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States are dragging the Federal Government through the Supreme Court to seek an order restraining it (FG) and its agent-the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)- from implementing the naira redesign policy.
A report by PSN said that the three states filed the action through their Attorneys-General who averred that both the old and the new Naira notes were scarce, thereby affecting people, especially the poor.
The Plaintiffs in the suit are the three Attorneys-General and Commissioners for Justice while the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami (SAN) is the sole Respondent.
Filing an ex-parte motion through their lawyer, Mr AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), the states are urging the Supreme Court to grant them an interim injunction, stopping the Federal Government either by itself or acting through the CBN, the commercial banks or its agents from carrying out its plan of ending the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira may 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 averred.
The states said there had been a shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States and that citizens who had dutifully deposited their old naira notes had increasingly found it difficult and sometimes next to impossible to access new naira notes to go about their daily activities and transactions.
The states said the CBN policy was imposing a lot of hardship on Nigerians and insisted that the 10-day extension by the Federal Government was still insufficient to address the challenges of swapping their 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,” the three states stated.