Nigeria’s Supreme Court has ruled that the old 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes will remain in circulation until December 31, 2023, effectively voiding the reintroduction of the naira previously announced by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. The redesign of the introduction into use of the old naira notes was intended to be a hune mode.
The seven-member panel of the court, led by John Okoro, ruled unanimously that President Buhari issued the directive without consultation.
The court stated that the federal government should have consulted with the state government through relevant bodies, including the National Council of States and the National Economic Council, before embarking on such a task.
The Supreme Court declared Buhari’s 1999 directive to withdraw old banknotes from circulation illegal and contrary to the Constitution. The court also issued another order rescinding and extending the legal notice to December 31.
The pronouncement is one of nine declarations and orders issued by the Supreme Court in the ruling suit filed by some state officials challenging the governor’s directive.
At the end of 2022, Buhari ordered the introduction of 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes on January 31, 2021, introducing newly designed versions of the notes, which were in short supply.
The directive, which has been described as a “demonetization plan” by some government officials who oppose it, has led to a shortage of banks, disruption in the financial system and creating hardship for millions of citizens.
The inability to access money due to the shortage of banknotes is also affecting many businesses.
With the largest withdrawal of the existing machines amounting to 20,000 naira ($43), this has also affected cryptocurrency users in Nigeria who want to exchange tokens for fiat in business transactions and daily expenses.
However, this new supreme court ruling sheds light on the availability of funds to carry out the project.
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