Ten states have asked the Supreme Court to set aside the pronouncement of President Muhammadu Buhari banning old N500 and N1,000 notes.
The governors, in Suit No SC/CV/162/2023, filed on Friday by their counsel, A.J. Owonikoko (SAN), want the apex court to declare the President’s directives in his Thursday’s broadcast as unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs in the suit are the Attorneys General (AGs) of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Sokoto, and Lagos states while the respondent are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as well as the AGs of Bayelsa and Edo states.
The plaintiffs, in a 12 grounds of application, argued that Buhari’s directive extending the validity of old N200 notes for 60 days and his ban on old N500 and N1,000 notes are an “unconstitutional overreach and usurpation of the judicial power” of the Supreme Court being that the case is already before the court.
Solacebase reports that the counsel for the applicants cited Section 232(1), Section 6(6)(b) and Section 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which includes the protection of the Supreme Court’s dignity and which ensure compliance with its orders by all persons and authorities.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 22.
However, the President, in a national broadcast on Thursday, directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days.
He said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes are no longer legal tender in Nigeria.
However, there have been a flurry of reactions and stark criticisms against the President’s directive including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).