The Supreme Court has stated that it doesn’t want to be used as a scapegoat due to the old Naira notes case brought before it by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, and seven other state Governments.
During the hearing on Wednesday morning, 22 February 2023, the Supreme Court stated this in response to a plea from the Attorney General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo, against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Onigbanjo accused Malami of acting in contempt of initial court orders, thereby, asking Justice John Okoro to prohibit the Attorney General of the Federation from representing the Federal Government that was sued by 10 state governments over the handling of the deadline to phase out the old Naira notes.
“you are not a stranger to this country,” Justice Okoro said, adding “We don’t want a situation where the judiciary will be a scapegoat. We refuse to be the scapegoat”.
“We are hearing this matter today. We don’t intend to keep this matter longer… whether they obey it or not,” Punch quoted the Justice on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, during the ongoing hearing, the Supreme Court rejected the request from the Abia State government to join in the suit.
The apex court said it is too late, however, it went ahead to merge the applications of Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers and four other states with that of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara which initiated the first lawsuit against the Federal Government.
Two weeks ago, only the three Northern states filed a lawsuit against FG, praying that the court set aside the 10 February 2023 deadline to phase out the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
However, in the last 14 days, seven states have joined them to legally force the Federal Government to stop the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from implementing the deadline.
Although the CBN has gone ahead to implement the deadline, the Supreme Court, two weeks ago and last week, ordered that the old Naira notes remain legal tender until its final judgement on Wednesday, 22 February 2023.
Last week Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari made a nationwide broadcast disclosing that the CBN has been directed to exclude the deadline on only the N200 notes.
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