The Supreme Court of Nigeria has adjourned a legal challenge to the government’s policy of scrapping old banknotes, which has caused a severe cash shortage.
More states, including Lagos and Katsina, have joined the case.
A seven-member panel of the court led by John Okoro adjourned the case on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 until February 22, 2023, three days before the general election.
The panel adjourned the case after hearing a series of joinder applications by other states interested to be parties to the suit.
The court, before postponing its sitting, joined a total of nine states as new parties to the suit.
The suit was originally initiated against the federal government by three states controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as co-plaintiffs – Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states.
All except one of the newly joined co-plaintiffs, are also controlled by the APC. Only Sokoto State (North-west) is being governed by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor.
The rest of the new co-plaintiffs, who are in support of the suit and against the CBN policy, are Cross River (South-south), Lagos (South-west), Ogun (South-west), Katsina (North-west), Ondo (South-west) and Ekiti (South-west) states.
Last week, the Supreme Court suspended a deadline of 10 February for old notes to be handed in.
However, the Governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Godwin Emefiele, has added to confusion by insisting that the old notes are no longer legal tender.
Emefiele said the situation has calmed substantially.
The adjournment dashed the hopes of many Nigerians who were anticipating a definite pronouncement of the court to address the federal government’s refusal to comply with its earlier order suspending the February 10 deadline.
Nigerians face an unprecedented cash crunch less than two weeks to the nation’s general elections. The crisis has plunged many citizens and their businesses into hardships, with many finding it extremely difficult to meet their basic daily needs.
Many believe that a further adjournment of the hearing and final resolution of the case by the court will deepen the hardships Nigerians are grappling with as a result of the naira redesign policy of the CBN.
Biggest De-Marketing Strategy Against APC
The Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has described the redesigning of the Naira as the biggest de-marketing strategy against the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).
Baba-Ahmed said this during an interview on Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
The NEF official remarked that the administration has in the past couple of weeks destroyed the informal sector with the Naira scarcity.
Baba-Ahmed stated that the hardship caused by the policy is de-marketing the ruling party in the northern part of the country.
According to him, it appears that President Muhammadu Buhari is not listening to anybody even though he could end the fiasco by allowing the two currencies to operate side by side.
“We got here because President Muhammadu Buhari has messed up to have allowed this type of fiasco to exist on the eve of an election when you are campaigning to have your party voted for.
“This money thing is a major demarketing strategy for the APC. If the worst enemy of the APC had designed strategy for them to lose the election, he could not have picked a better strategy than this fiasco on redesigning of the Naira.Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)
Baba-Ahmed disclosed that people claim the naira redesign is aimed at making one of the presidential candidates, Bola Tinubu lose in the upcoming elections.
“Their own people are saying it was designed to make Tinubu lose, the governors said this was designed to make him (Tinubu) lose. The candidate himself said the policy was designed to make him lose.”Hakeem Baba-Ahmed
Many Nigerians had hoped that the Supreme Court would make another pronouncement to intervene in the crisis instead of the adjournment.
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