For adverts Placement only email: [email protected]

Thursday, 30 November 2023 05:23

‘Old, new naira notes remain legal tender indefinitely’

The Supreme Court yesterday laid to rest anxiety over the lifespan of the old 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes. It granted the Federal Government’s request to allow the bills circulate indefinitely.

They shall continue to be in force with either the new or redesigned notes indefinitely, a seven-man panel of the apex court, headed by Justice John Inyang Okoro, ruled yesterday.

The extension of the bills’ lifespan will subsist until necessary facilities are put in place for their replacement.

The ruling was on an application by the Federal Government, which was moved by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), who was accompanied by the Acting Director, Civil Appeals, Federal Ministry of Justice, Tijani Gazali (SAN).

The court stepped down its March 3 order that the old notes will cease to exist from December 31, 2023.

In place of the earlier orders, the apex court directed that “the old versions of 200, 500, 1000 naira notes/currency shall continue to be legal tenders alongside the new or designed versions until the government decides to bring the circulation of the old versions to an end after its consultation with critical stakeholders and after putting all required structures in place.”

Although the extension of the old notes’ use is indefinite, it is at the discretion of the Federal Government.

The 10 plaintiff respondents in the matter did not oppose the Federal Government’s application to allow the circulation of old and new notes of N200, N500, N1,000.]

The 10 aggrieved states are: Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Lagos and Sokoto.

On the defendant respondents’ side are: the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation; the governments of Edo and Bayelsa states.

The Federal Government had asked the apex court to review its order that old versions of N200, N500 and N1, 000 should cease to be legal tender from December 31, 2023.

The federal government sought the following reliefs:

·      An order of this Honourable Court reviewing or varying its consequential order contained in the judgment in Suit No. SC/ CV/162/2023 delivered on the 3rd day of March 2023 to the effect that the old 200, 500 and 1,000 Naira notes should be legal tender until 31st of December, 2023.

·      An order of this Honourable Court varying its consequential order contained in the judgment in Suit No. SC/ CV/162/2023 delivered on the 3rd day of March 2023 to the effect that the old 200, 500 and 1,000 Naira notes should be legal tender until 31st of December, 2023.

·      An order of this Honourable Court reviewing and or varying the said consequential order to read thus:  “An order that the old versions of 200, 500, 1,000 notes/ currency shall continue to be Legal Tenders alongside the new or redesigned versions until the government decides to bring the circulation of  the old versions to an end… after its consultation with critical stakeholders and after putting all required structures in place.

·      And for such order or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

At the sitting, all the lawyers to the states, who addressed the court individually, said in the interest of justice and the nation’s economy, the Supreme Court should let the old notes to co-exist with the new notes.

The all-SANs lawyers, are: Mr. A. U. Mustapha, who is the lead counsel; Ondo State Attorney-General, Sir Charles Titiloye (KSM); Olasoji O. Olowolafe; Lukman Fagbemi; Kehinde Ogunwumiju; Cross River State Attorney-General, Mr. Tanko Ashang; Ahmed Raji; Emeka Etiaba; Damian Dodo and the attorneys-general of Katsina and Sokoto states.

A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Okoro, granted the reliefs of the Federal Government in a landmark constitutional matter.

Other members of the Supreme Court panel are: Justices Tijani Abubakar, Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, Ibrahim M. Saulawa, Uwani Musa Abba Aji, Adamu Jauro and Helen Ogunwumiju.

Justice Okoro read the apex court’s decision as follows: “An order that the old versions of 200, 500, 1,000 notes/currency shall continue to be Legal Tenders alongside the new or redesigned versions until the government decides to bring the circulation of the old versions to an end.”

The court, however, said the extension of the lifespan of the affected notes should be “after its consultation with critical stakeholders and after putting all required structures in place.”

Mustapha, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “All the counsel to the plaintiff respondents supported the motion of the Federal Government in the interest of justice and the nation’s economy. We don’t want Nigerians to suffer at all.”

• CBN directs issuance, acceptance of old, new  bills

In a swift response to the Supreme Court vacation of its March three order, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) instructed all its branches to continue issuing and accepting all denominations of the banknotes (old and redesigned).

A statement from its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the CBN urged the public to continue accepting all naira banknotes (old or redesigned) for their daily transactions and to handle these banknotes with care to extend their lifespan.

The bank also encouraged members of the public to embrace alternative modes of payment, such as e-channels, to minimise the reliance on physical cash.

[TheNation]

240 times


Join us on Whatsapp Channel Subscribe to Telegram Channel