The Supreme Court has ordered the circulation of the old naira notes alongside the new ones until December 31. In a unanimous judgement, a seven-member panel of justices presided by Justice Inyang Okoro on Friday held that the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the redesigning and withdrawal of old notes of N200, N500 and N1000, without consultation with the states, the Federal Executive Council and the National Council of State, was unconstitutional.
The apex court observed that no reasonable notice was given before the implementation of the policy as provided under the CBN Act.
The lead judgement read by Justice Emmanuel Agim also dismissed the preliminary objection by the federal government challenging the jurisdiction of the apex court to hear the suits by the 16 states challenging the currency policy.
The panel held that the CBN, being an agent of the federal government, need not be joined as a party in the matter.
The apex court had adjourned judgement till after presidential and National Assembly elections after hearing arguments for and against for over three hours on Wednesday, February 22.
“All the suits adjourned until 3 March for judgement,” Justice Okoro, said.
The governorship and state assembly elections are scheduled to come up on March 11.
The controversial monetary policy, which has led to cash crunch across the country, bringing hardship to millions of Nigerians, has been a major issue in the lead-up to general elections that started on February 25
The presidential candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), now president-elect, Bola Tinubu, had said he was the target of the policy that is defiantly backed by President Buhari, the leader of the party.
President Buhari had only a day before apologised to Nigerians over the hardship the redesign policy had engendered.
The president, who spoke in a viral video in Hausa Thursday, said the naira redesign policy was not meant to cause hardship to Nigerians but enhance the economy.