New Naira Note Saga: Supreme Court orders FG to keep N200, N500, N1,000 notes in circulation till Dec 31

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The Supreme Court has issued its final ruling on the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy, ordering that old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes remain in circulation until December 31, 2023.

In his lead judgment on Friday, Justice Emmanuel Agim declared the policy unconstitutional, calling it an affront to the 1999 Constitution.

According to the court, the policy has led to some people engaging in barter trade in this modern age in order to survive. The court went on to say that President Muhammadu Buhari’s defiance of the February 8 order is evidence of dictatorship.

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It also ruled that the defendants’ preliminary objections (the Attorney General of the Federation, the states of Bayelsa and Edo) are overruled because the court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

The court held that the dispute between the federation and the states must involve law or facts, citing Section 23(2)1 of the constitution.

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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.

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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.

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