Ten state governments in Nigeria have petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to outlaw the 500- and 1,000-naira notes.
The governors are asking the Supreme Court to declare the President’s orders from his broadcast on Thursday to be unconstitutional in Suit No. SC/CV/162/2023, which was filed on Friday by their attorney, A.J. Owonikoko (SAN).
Attorneys General (AGs) of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Sokoto, and Lagos states are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit; the respondent is Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney General of the Federation, together with the AGs of Bayelsa and Edo states.
As the Supreme Court is already hearing the issue, the plaintiffs claimed that Buhari’s orders to extend the validity of old N200 notes for 60 days and to ban old N500 and N1,000 notes amounted to a “unconstitutional overreach and seizure of judicial jurisdiction.”
The petitioners’ attorney cited Articles 232(1), 6(6)(b), and 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which guarantee that all people and authorities must obey the Supreme Court’s rulings and defend its dignity.
Due to complaints from many Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Government, the CBN, and commercial banks could not continue with the deadline until the February 22 decision on a notice pertaining to the issue.
However, the President ordered the apex bank to put the old N200 notes into circulation so they can coexist alongside the new N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days in a national broadcast on Thursday.
Old N500 and N1,000 bank notes, he claimed, are no longer accepted as legal money in Nigeria.
But, the President’s decree has received a flurry of responses and harsh condemnation, including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Many prominent members of the ruling APC, including governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, have publicly criticized and faulted the President’s directive, claiming that it lacks justification because the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.