THE governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and nine other governors have faulted President Mohammadu Buhari’s directive stripping the N500 and N1,000 notes of their legal tender status and implored the Supreme Court to set aside the directive.
On Friday, the counsel to the governors, A.J. Owonikoko (SAN), filed a suit arguing that Buhari’s directive extending the validity of old N200 notes for 60 days and his ban on old N500 and N1,000 notes was unconstitutional and an infringement of the powers of the Apex Court, as the case was already before the court.
In the suit, No SC/CV/162/2023, Owonikoko cited Section 232(1), Section 6(6)(b) and Section 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, part of which upholds the position of the Supreme Court and ensures compliance with its orders by all persons.
The prayers noted that “Contrary to the order of the Honourable Court, the substantive 1st 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.”
Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Umar Ganduje (Kano); are among a growing band of elected politicians tasking the President on his directive on the use of currencies.
The plaintiffs are the Attorneys General of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Sokoto, and Lagos states while the defendants are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Attorneys General of Bayelsa and Edo states.
The development had unfurled after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) extended its deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10. The apex court intervened following a suit by some states, and held that the February 10 deadline will not be adhered to until the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 22.
But the President, in a broadcast on Thursday, directed the CBN to release into circulation the old N200 notes till April 10, 2023, while declaring that the N500 and N1,000 banknotes ceased to be legal tender.