Supreme Court stops CBN from implementing Feb 10 deadline

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has issued an interim order stopping the Central Bank of Nigeria from implementing the February 10, deadline for old naira notes.

The Supreme Court gave the order on Wednesday morning, two days before the CBN issued deadline.

Consequently, the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes will likely continue to be legal tender beyond February 10.

The order was issued following a motion ex-parte filed on February 3rd by three northern states, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara through their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Mustapha (SAN).

The States had prayed the apex court to halt the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) naira redesign policy.

A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro, in a unanimous ruling, granted an interim injunction restraining the FG, CBN, commercial banks etc from implementing the February 10, deadline for the old 200, 500 and 1000 Naira notes to stop being a legal tender.

The court further held that the FG, CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 15.

By this ruling, the old Naira notes continue to be legal tenders in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, in a dramatic twist, the Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara governments had on Monday dragged the FG before the Supreme Court, seeking an extension to the February 10 deadline, five political parties took the matter to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court and secured an order barring the Federal Government and the apex bank from any extension of the deadline.

Recall that the CBN had on October 26, 2022, announced the naira redesign plan. Thereafter, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed a January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

The CBN also pegged its weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.

Following the cries by many Nigerians over the scarcity to new naira notes, the apex bank extended the deadline from January 31 to February 10.