Nigeria’s highest Court, the Supreme Court, has ordered the circulation of the old naira notes.
The Court ordered that the old currency be circulated alongside the new ones until December 31.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgment by 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.
They observed that no reasonable notice was given before the implementation of the policy as provided under the CBN Act.
The lead judgment 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 Supreme Court had earlier ordered commercial banks and other financial institutions to continue transacting with the old notes pending the determination of the motion at the apex court on February 15.
The President had, on February 16, addressed citizens amid protests in some states across the country over the scarcity of cash following the implementation of the currency redesign policy by the CBN.
He had permitted only old N200 notes to be recirculated as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes to ease the supply pressures, particularly to citizens, declaring that old N1000 and N500 notes were no longer legal tender.
However, the action fell short of the demands of the governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who had asked that the President direct an adequate injection of the new notes and the continued utilisation of all old ones until the end of the year to cushion the adverse effects which the policy decision to redesign the currency had on their constituencies.