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10 states ask Supreme Court to overrule Buhari’s ban on old naira notes

The states described the president’s directive as “overreach and usurpation of the judicial power” of the Supreme Court.

As Nigerians struggle to get rid of their old N500 and N1000 notes, 10 state governments have asked the Supreme Court to void President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on the ‘expired’ banknotes.

The President recently affirmed the February 10 deadline for the expiration of the old naira denominations that were redesigned in 2022.

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He, however, extended the validity of the old N200 note by 60 days, while banning the old N500 and N1000 notes. The president also directed the CBN to recirculate N200 notes.

Buhari’s directive about the old notes came after the Supreme Court on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, declared that its earlier pronouncement that the old naira notes remain legal tender subsisted.

However, on Friday, February 17, 2023, the 10 states comprising Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ekiti, Ondo, Katsina, Ogun, Cross-river, Lagos and Sokoto states filed a motion asking the court to overrule Buhari’s directive to the CBN, saying the directive is unconstitutional.

The states described the president’s directive as “overreach and usurpation of the judicial power” of the Supreme Court.

The states contended that the apex court had on February 8 issued an interim order that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes should remain legal tender pending the determination of the motion on notice.

They added that the interim order of the Supreme Court was reaffirmed on February 15, 2023.

“Contrary to the order of this honourable court, the substantive first defendant through the president of the Federation and its agent, the Central Bank of Nigeria have repeatedly released statements that the old naira notes are no longer legal tender, hence resulting in misleading the general public on what the status quo to be complied with, pendente lite should be”.

“…the first defendant decided to openly flout the orders of the Honorable court on Thursday, the 16th of February 2023 when the President delivered a special and presidential media broadcast, during which the President openly and publicly varied the order of the court by directing that all the old Naira notes excluding the old N200 were no longer legal tender and same would not be accepted except by the Central Bank of Nigeria, at its branches or designated points”.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the matter on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

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