The Supreme Court of Nigeria has invalidated the Federal Government’s new naira design policy, ruling that it was not done with due consultation and was not in line with constitutional provisions.
The apex court ordered that the old naira notes will continue to be used alongside the new naira notes until December 31, 2023.
The court held that the three-month timeline for the implementation of the policy was unconstitutional and not in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Act. Furthermore, the court stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari, exceeded his powers by directing the ban on the old naira notes of N1,000, N500, and N200 from February 10, 2023.
In delivering the judgement, the court considered the defendants’ argument that it lacked jurisdiction to decide on the case. Justice Agim stated that the act of the President and the government of Nigeria is an act of the federation.
The court held that the dispute is between the states and the government of the Federation and within the original jurisdiction of the court.
The court stated that the government of the federation should have held adequate consultation to avoid massive disruption of government operations and trades.
It invalidated the argument that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was the proper party to be sued, maintaining that it was not the action of the CBN that is being challenged, but the validity of the decision of the President to redesign the naira, release the new notes into circulation, and withdraw the old notes without adequate consultation with Nigerians through the council of states and the National Economic Council.
The court held that the CBN does not have to be joined as a party in the suit as the CBN had no power to carry out the policy without the directive of the President. The suit is not an action against the banks or the CBN.