From Atiku Sarki, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has defied the Supreme Court order barring the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old N200, N500, and N1000, which it said the notes still subsist, by directing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release only old N200 notes into circulation, while old N500 and N1000 remained illegal tender.
The court made the clarification on Wednesday following a complaint by a lawyer to Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) that the Federal Government and its agencies have failed to comply with the order and have allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes.
Mustapha said the plaintiff filed a notice of non-compliance with the order of the court order made on February 8 and demanded that the court take action against the respondent to protect the dignity of the court.
He added: “That order has been flouted by the government. We are talking of executive lawlessness here.
“We have filed an affidavit to that effect…We want the court to renew the order for parties to be properly guided.”
Justice John Okoro, who presided over a seven-member panel of the court, asked Mustapha to file a proper application to put forward his complaints and to enable the respondent to respond appropriately. Justice Okoro said there was no need for a renewal of the court’s order.
He noted that, since the order made by the court on February 8 was made pending the determination of the motion for injunctions filed by the plaintiff, the order still subsists since the motion was not yet heard.
The court had, in the February 8 ruling, said: “After a careful consideration of this ex-parte application, and the grounds in support of same, this court finds that there is real urgency for this court to intervene by the grant of this application.”
The president however, in his address to the nation yesterday, maintained that: “I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be legal tender.
“In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points.
“Considering the health of our economy and the legacy we must bequeath to the next administration and future generations of Nigerians, I admonish every citizen to strive harder to make their deposits by taking advantage of the platforms and windows being provided by the CBN.
“Let me assure Nigerians that our administration will continue to assess the implementation with a view to ensuring that Nigerians are not unnecessarily burdened.
“In this regard, the CBN shall ensure that new notes become more available and accessible to our citizens through the banks.
“I wish to once more appeal for your understanding till we overcome this difficult transient phase within the shortest possible time.”