The Supreme Court has given its final verdict on the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government, ordering that old N200, N500, N1,000 notes remain in circulation till December 31, 2023.
Reading the lead judgment on Friday, Justice Emmanuel Agim also nullified the policy, declaring it as an affront to the 1999 Constitution.
The court said the policy has led to some people engaging in trade by barter in this modern age, in a bid to survive. The court added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of the February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship.
It also held that the preliminary objections by the defendants (the attorney general of the federation, Bayelsa and Edo states) are dismissed as the court has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Citing Section 23(2)1 of the constitution, the court held that the dispute between the federation and states must involve law or facts.
The case was brought before the court by 16 states.
They accused President Muhammadu Buhari of usurping the function of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the introduction and implementation of the policy and asked that the directive issued by Buhari be voided.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello, were in court to witness the judgement on Friday. The two governors were also in court at the last hearing. Also, Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle was in court on Friday.
The ruling nullifies Buhari’s directive in a national broadcast last Thursday that the apex bank should release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.