The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), its Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami have been dragged to a Federal Court in Awka over the implementation of the naira redesign policy.
The redesigned currencies N1,000, N500 and N200 went into circulation on December 15, 2022, and would finally displace the old notes by the end of January 2023.
But the Incorporated Trustees of a non-governmental organisation and the African Initiative against Abuse of Public Trust had filed a suit on behalf of over 50 million Nigerians in rural areas who have to bank account, to stop the CBN from implementing the policy.
In the Suit marked FHC/AWK/CS/195/2022 filed by Mr. N. D. Agu, on behalf of the plaintiff, the court had on November 30, 2022, delivered a ruling granting the application in part and gave an order for the defendants to be served with the motion ex parte dated November 18, 2022, but filed on November 29, 2022.
But the court presided over by Hon. Justice H. A. Nganjiwa directed the plaintiff to put the defendants on notice to compel them to appear before it and show cause why the plaintiff’s prayers should not be granted.
An Aba-based lawyer, Chief Musa Tolani, the counsel to the three defendants told journalists yesterday at the commercial city of Aba that the plaintiff’s prayers were for the court to order an interim injunction stopping the policy implementation.
According to the plaintiff, the policy on redesigned naira should not be implemented until, “a clear policy (is put in place) on how to accommodate over 50 million Nigerians without bank accounts.”
The plaintiff, therefore asked the court to issue an order restraining the defendants, particularly, the CBN and Emefiele, either by themselves or their proxies or agents, “from taking any step to enforce the implementation of the policy without protecting the interest of unbanked Nigerians.”
The reliefs sought by the plaintiff included granting accelerated hearing and determination of the substantive originating summons, granting the claimant leave to serve the defendants with the court processes by substituted means by posting or courier services.
They also prayed the court for an, “order of departure from the rules by abridging the time within which the Defendants may file their respective Counter Affidavit to substantive Originating Summons to a period of five days from the date of service of the processes.”
After the counsel informed the court that both the CBN and Emefiele had served the plaintiff with their responses to the originating process, Justice Nganjiwa granted the relief to the plaintiff to serve the third defendant, Malami with the originating summons.
However, citing, “the nature and far reaching effects,” of two of the reliefs sought, the court refused to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, especially CBN and its governor, from implementing the naira redesign policy.
It also refused to bar the CBN and Emefiele, “from taking any steps to dissipate, discountenance or in any other manner inhibit over 50 million Nigerians without bank accounts from using alternative means and or physical means to exchange old notes with the redesigned notes.”
The court said that it, “finds it very difficult to grant the said reliefs wiithout hearng from the other side” and adjourned the matter to January 19, 2023 for hearing of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction. (THISDAY)