Nigeria’s supreme court has adjourned until March 3 for judgement on the case filed by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states seeking the court to order the central bank to extend its deadline for old Naira currency notes to stay in circulation.
The seven-man panel sat since 9.00 am and rose some minutes after 1.00 pm.
The court after listening to arguments from all sides directed the parties to put their pleas in writing to enable the court to make a conclusive determination of the matter.
It remained silent on its previous interim order which directed the federal government not to implement its February 10 deadline after which the old currency notes were supposed to cease to be legal tender. The general interpretation of the order was that the old currency notes should continue to be legal tender pending the vacation of the order or full judgment on the substantive suit.
But the CBN appeared to ignore the court, refusing to recirculate the old notes except for the N200 denomination ordered by President Buhari.
Nigeria’s jurisprudence had been set alight with many berating the government for defying the highest court in the land, and others taking sides with the president.
Nigria’s CBN set off its currency redesign on 26th October last year. The bank’s boss said the policy was intended to “solve the problem of reducing corruption and illicit financial flow…resolve some of the problems in the economy, and also goes to reduce the issue of insecurity in the country”.
But critics see politics in the mix. The president admitted in a speech that the initiative is a “bold legacy step by this administration, towards laying a strong foundation for free and fair elections”.
Nigerians go to the polls this weekend but the spectre of voter cash inducement has been a blight in the country’s democratic experience.