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Old Naira Notes: You’ve no jurisdiction to stop deadline, Malami tells Supreme Court

ABUJA – Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has challenged the Supreme Court’s authority to postpone the deadline for using the old N200, N500, and N1000 Naira notes.

Vanguard saw a copy of Malami’s preliminary objection on Wednesday night, which he filed on behalf of the Federal Government. In it, he asked for an order to throw out the suit that three Northern States had filed to stop the CBN’s new monetary policy from being fully implemented.

It should be recalled that the Supreme Court prevented the Federal Reserve and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of the old banknotes on the basis of an ex-parte application filed by the states of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.

A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, approved the continued use of the old, redesigned Naira notes as valid legal tender in a unanimous decision. This was done while the suit was adjourned until February 15.

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In the meantime, the AGF who was named as the sole Defendant in the lawsuit wrote: SC/CV/162/2023, requested its complete dismissal.

Malami cited the three states’ opposition to the FG’s authority to withdraw old banknotes and introduce new ones through its agency, the CBN, as one of his grounds for challenging the Supreme Court’s authority to intervene in the matter.

The plaintiffs’ lawsuit concerns the Central Bank of Nigeria’s authority to call in and issue new banknotes under the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007.

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“Due to the subject matter and parties, this suit, in its current form, falls under section 251(1)(a)(p)(q)&(r) of the Constitution, giving the Federal High Court exclusive jurisdiction.

The claims or reliefs are directed at the Federal Government and its agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria, not the Federation.

The Nigerian Federal Government is distinct from the Nigerian Federation or the Nigerian Federal Republic.

“The Plaintiffs have nothing at all against the Federation of Nigeria to complain about.”

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“No dispute that invokes this Court’s original jurisdiction as defined by the Constitution has been disclosed in this suit.”

“This lawsuit is an abuse of the legal system.

The Plaintiff has no legal standing to bring this lawsuit.

Malami added, “The Plaintiffs have no reasonable cause of action against the Defendant.”

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