Unsatisfied with the interim injunction by Nigeria’s Supreme Court “temporarily” stopping the CBN from enforcing the February 10 deadline on old banknotes, the Federal Government has headed to the apex court, asking it to dismiss the suit challenging the deadline.
A seven-man panel of the court led by Justice John Okoro had on Wednesday issued an order of interim injunction temporarily halting the plan by CBN to end the use of the old banknotes as scheduled.
Persecondnews reported that the CBN had announced plans to end the legal tender status of the old currency notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 to give way to the newly redesigned notes which has been in short supply, causing crisis.
The government through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami (SAN) insisted that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by three states – Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara – controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Malami pointed out that the case is not a dispute between the federation and the state governments, but merely an issue about CBN’s policy.
He said the suit is, therefore, not qualified to be taken directly to the Supreme Court for adjudication, arguing that the suit ought to have commenced at the Federal High Court.
The three state had in their application filed to challenge the naira redesign policy, sought an order restraining CBN from enforcing the deadline of February 10, citing the hardships Nigerians are facing in accessing the new notes in the banks across the country.
The apex court has adjourned February 15 for the hearing of the substantive suit.
On Wednesday, President Muhammmadu Buhari had met with the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and AGF, Malami, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after the supreme court ruling.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline for the old notes swap.
The IMF, in a statement by its Resident Representative to Nigeria, Ari Aisen, issued on his behalf by Office Manager for Resident Representation for Nigeria, Laraba Bonnet, in Abuja, hinged its plea on the hardship Nigerians were going through.
The IMF said: “In light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, IMF encourages CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist in the next few days, leading up to the February 10 deadline.”
IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.