FG seeks S/Court’s deadline extension for old naira notes

THE Federal Government has officially filed an application before the Supreme Court, seeking an order for the old naira notes to remain in circulation beyond December 31, 2023, as earlier ruled by the court.

The old notes are N200, N500 and N1,000.

In March 2023, the Supreme Court extended the deadline to phase out the old naira notes to December 31, 2023.

In the fresh application, Lateef Fagbemi, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), said due to the economic crisis, the nation had been unable to print the volume of new notes that would enable it to phase out old currency before December 31.

According to the AGF, “Since the said consequential order was made, the Federal Government, in compliance with this honourable court’s order, directed the CBN to engage and has been engaging the respondents in their individual capacities and in their capacities as members of the National Council of State and National Economic Council with respect to the naira redesign policy.

“In between the time the order was made and now, there was a presidential election in the country which has led to a transition from the immediate-past government and the incumbent government, which is just settling down,” he said.

Fagbemi noted that the incumbent government had, however, directed the CBN to come up, by way of policy direction, with how the naira redesign policy would be addressed in full compliance with the court’s order.

“Whilst working on the policy direction and due to the economic crisis being witnessed by the government of the federation and other factors beyond its control, the government of the federation to date has not been able to print the new 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes in the equal proportion of the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes sought to be recalled as consultation with critical stakeholders is still on-going on how best to approach the redesign policy.

He stressed that people had been hoarding the new notes on the speculation that the 31 December deadline for the old notes to cease to be legal tender might not be met.



    To effectively stabilise the economy, Fagbemi argued that the Federal Government was of the ‘strong’ view that the old versions of 200, 500, and 1,000 notes should continue to be legal tender alongside the new versions.

    “Following the deadline for the validity of the old 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes ordered by this honourable court will make the government of the federation to push the country into another national, economic, and financial crisis which this honourable court sought to prevent in the first instance by its judgment in the afore-mentioned suit.

    “The only way to save the nation from both of the above situations is by the order of this honourable court to grant the prayers in this application,” he added.

    The Supreme Court has fixed November 30 to hear the application.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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