Naira scarcity: FG files objection against Supreme Court decision on Feb 10 deadline.

The Federal Government Wednesday filed a preliminary objection challenging the application by Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi states against the implementation of the February 10 currency swap deadline.

In the objection filed by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the federal government argued that the suit ought not to have been brought before the Supreme Court as the reliefs sought were against an agency of the federal government, the CBN on its powers to withdraw old banknotes and introduce new ones under the CBN Act, 2007.

 The federal government argued that the Federal High Court had the proper jurisdiction to entertain such suits under Section 251(1)(a)(p)(q) & (r) of the Constitution (exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court).

While contending that the action before the apex court constituted an abuse of judicial process, the federal government said the state governments have no locus standi and reasonable cause of action to warrant the “invocation of the original jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

Before the objection by the federal government, the Supreme Court earlier yesterday ordered the CBN to allow the use of the old N1000, N500 and N200 notes beyond February 10 and fixed February 15 to hear the case.

A seven-member panel of justices presided by Justice John Inyang Okoro made the restraining order in a unanimous ruling.

Arguing the motion, counsel to the governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) said the matter was important and had come with an affidavit of urgency.

But Magaji Mahmud (SAN), who announced appearance for the Attorney-General of the Federation, was not heard by the apex court being an ex parte motion.

It is just an order not a judgment- Presidency Source

Reacting to the Supreme Court order, a source in the Presidency said: “Generally speaking, it is not a judgment, it is just an order. An ex-parte order is a constitutional leverage specifically given to judges to make an order in exceptional circumstances granting the request of an applicant in a suit in the interim without hearing from the other party.

“The order is only temporary. The judge will hold a full hearing within a short period of time,” he said. Millions of Nigerians have been thrown into confusion following the mopping up of over 1.7trillion old naira notes and the glaring unavailability of the redesigned notes.

The development had led to endless queues in banking halls and ATMs as well as demonstrations in parts of the country.

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