Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said that the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) policy that stipulates a February 10, 2023 deadline for old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.
This comes after a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice John Okoro, granted an interim injunction on Wednesday, preventing the Federal Government from carrying out the CBN’s ultimatum.
The decision came in response to a motion ex-parte filed on February 3rd on behalf of three northern states – Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara – by their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Mustapha (SAN), urging the apex court to halt the CBN naira redesign policy.
Ozekhome clarified on Channels Television that the judgment was not a definitive stance on the CBN’s currency swap policy.
“The Supreme Court has not decided the matter. All it has done is to fall back to a decision like Kotoye v. CBN, that in matters of extreme urgency, you can grant an interim order, even if it be ex parte, to prevent the subject matter of the suit being truncated.
“If, for example, the Supreme Court, did not make that order, and the only order existing is that of the High Court, it means that the CBN, by 10th of this month, will stop the use of all old notes.
“But what the Supreme Court has said is, ‘Just wait, let us listen to you people,’ not that it has decided that Zamfara, Kogi and Kaduna states have any valid case that is actionable because the action is already being challenged with a preliminary objection.
“It is another way of saying, ‘Let us first drive away the fox before we blame the fowl for wandering too far into the forest,’” he said.