As the Supreme Court today (Wednesday) resumes hearing on the old naira note deadline suit between some state governments and the Federal Government, Nigerians, especially consumer and business groups as well as professional and trade unions are looking up to the apex court for a favourable judgment that they expect will ameliorate their suffering.
The Supreme Court had on February 8 restrained the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline for swapping the old naira notes with new ones, but the Central Bank of Nigeria refused to shift the deadline.
The injunction was sequel to a suit filed by Zamfara, Kogi and Kaduna state governments against the Attorney-General of the Federation on February 3.
Other states including Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Kano, Sokoto, Ogun and Cross River have also joined the suit as co-plaintiffs.
But the crisis between the governors and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) over the naira redesign initiative worsened last Thursday when the President in his nationwide broadcast ignored the apex court order by extending the validity of the old N200 notes while insisting that the old N500 and N1,000 remained illegal.
Buhari further stated that the old N200 note would be legal tender till April 10, 2023, while urging Nigerians to deposit their old N500 and 1000 notes with the central bank.
Insisting on the order of the apex court, the governments of Kaduna, Ogun and Sokoto states, however, said the people in their states should continue to use the old naira notes as legal tender until the Supreme Court delivered its final pronouncement on the case pending before it.
On Sunday, the All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and the National Working Committee of the party met with 12 APC governors and in a communique after the meeting admonished the CBN and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to comply with the order of the apex court.
The reports that no fewer than 13 persons have died in protests provoked by the shortage of new naira notes across the country.
Also, at least 12 states have witnessed protests as a result of the policy.
The National President of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees, Anthony Abakpa, expressed the hope that the apex court would give a ruling that would stop the incessant attacks on bank employees.
He said, “There is nothing much; the fact remains that the Supreme Court judgment supersedes every other power in Nigeria. Its supremacy and of course its verdict must be upheld.
“So, whatever it is, we know for sure and we are optimistic that the Supreme Court will not allow the masses to continue to suffer the way we have been suffering. All of us are suffering and facing it, so I don’t think it will rule against the masses and that is our own expectation as a union and as an organised labour union. We are sure the Supreme Court justices cannot compromise because they know their onions.”
Also speaking, bank customers, under the aegis of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, said they hoped the Supreme Court would give a ruling that would get the Federal Government to obey its earlier judgment, thereby saving Nigerians from the naira mess.