BREAKING: SUPREME COURT ‘VOIDS’ NAIRA REDESIGN, REINSTATES OLD NOTES
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has berated the Buhari Administration over the Naira Redesign policy.
In a unanimous judgement today, the apex court held that the Federal Government ought to have consulted the National Council of State and the National Economic Council before proceeding with implementation of the policy.
Justice Emmanuel Agim held that it is not in dispute that the President did not consult the two bodies. He stated that they are constituents of the states and ought to have been consulted, adding that while the Nigerian Constitution does not expressly require the Federal Government to consult the bodies before taking any decision, the need to consult them is implicit in the Constitution and in a democracy.
The court held that the President realized belatedly that the bodies ought to have been consulted, adding that there was nothing to show by any public notice that the currency would be redesigned. Agim stated that the public only became aware of the new policy through the mass media, noting that such cannot qualify as a notice to the public. He stated that government’s reliance on such media reports as a proper notice is misconceived and invalid.
The court held that the President in his national broadcast admitted that the policy has brought untold hardships, adding that the decision to change a country’s currency cannot be handed down after a personal consultation with just the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor.
Agim referred to the procedure in India to anchor the point that changing a country’s currency involves serious consultations, noting that this was not done in the case of Nigeria. “I hold that no reasonable notice was given as required by section 20(3) of the CBN Act,” he said, adding that “The directive and implementation of the policy is invalid.”
The Supreme Court also held that the defendant/Federal Government ought not to be heard when it has refused to obey the orders of the court, adding that disobedience of the orders of the court is a sign of the failure of rule of law.
The court then held that the demonetisation policy is inconsistent with the CBN Act.
It further made a declaration that the President cannot make a unilateral policy without carrying the Plaintiffs along, adding that in issuing the policy, the president is under an obligation to carry the National Council of States along.
The Supreme Court further held that the Naira Redesign policy has impeded the functions of state governments, adding that the directive of the president is illegal.
It ordered that the old version of the Naira notes shall continue to be legal tender with the new naira notes until 23rd December, 2023.
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