Naira redesign: Court bars CBN from shifting cashless policy

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has restrained the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and twenty-seven listed commercial banks from suspending, stopping, extending or interfering with the currency redesign terminal date of February 10th or issue any directive contrary to the February 10 date.

In a motion by five of the eighteen political parties the Court presided over by Justice Enenche also granted an order directing the CEO’s of the banks and their alter egos to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the country by their illegal hoarding, withholding, not paying or disbursing the new N200 N500 and N1000 bank notes despite supply of such notes by the Central Bank.

This order of the Court has rendered futile all behind the scene efforts especially by Governors of some states to force the hand of the President to reverse the policy or at least extend same. Governors alleged to be behind the moves to stop this policy include the Governors of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Rivers, Imo, Benue and Kano

The order also ties the hands of bank CEO’s and their staff who have been alleged to be hoarding the new bank notes and trading with them thereby causing untold hardship to ordinary citizens.

Following the order, a cross section of lawyers, Civil Society Organization and ethnic youth groups interviewed hailed the order saying it was best for the country and would afford the stakeholders opportunity to now concentrate on how to ameliorate the hardship occasioned by the policy.

Groups such as Arewa Consultative Youth Movement, Ohanaeze Youth Movement, Oduduwa Youth Assembly all hailed the order. Arewa Youths said that looters of the common wealth of the people have lost out while Ohanaeze Youths insist that vote buyers and election riggers have been relegated just as Oduduwa Youth hold the view that kickbacks will be very difficult now, corruption greatly limited and chance for money laundering made slimmer.

 Furthermore, a continental civil society organization, the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights says the order of the court is the first step in sanitizing the country’s financial market and help in conducting very credible polls as politicians will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to have access to cash to compromise elections.

Reports also indicate that members of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu campaign were not pleased with the order as they had been hopeful that the campaign would have championed a successful action against the policies as they had put the President under immense pressure in the last few days leading to the President asking Nigerians to grant him seven days to resolve the issues.

In the 27 grounds by the applicants they made out a case showing that politicians who ostensibly are in possession of illicit funds are the ones who want the policies suspended.

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