The Supreme Court on Wednesday fixed March 3, 2023 for its judgment in 10 governors’ suit against the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria over the new naira note deadline.
The shifting of the judgment date dashed the hope of millions of Nigerians who had hoped the apex court would end the case ahead of the presidential election slated for Saturday.
Meanwhile, the crisis caused by the CBN’s naira swap policy worsened with many Nigerians finding it difficult to purchase basic needs.
This came as the Independent National Electoral Commission said it was gearing up for Saturday’s polls.
The Supreme Court on February 8, while ruling on a suit filed by Zamfara, Kaduna and Kogi states against the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, ordered the Federal Government not to implement the February 10 deadline for swapping old naira notes for new ones.
But in complete disregard for the February 8 court order, President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) in a national broadcast, extended the validity of the old N200 notes while insisting that the old N500 and N1,000 remained illegal.
He further directed 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.
With this development, the apex court has further delayed the resolution of the biting naira scarcity crisis which three state governors alleged was targeted at scuttling the Saturday polls.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, last Thursday described the current scarcity of naira notes as part of an alleged plot to disrupt the elections to ensure an interim government takes over.
The governor in a state broadcast alleged that the debacle was meant to ensure that the All Progressives Congress flag bearer, Bola Tinubu, and other candidates of the party lose.
He claimed that those who lost out in the party’s primaries were behind the plot.
Speaking while hosting the Forum of Former Parliamentarians, North-West zone, in Kano penultimate Wednesday, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, similarly lashed at the policy, which he said was aimed at truncating the nation’s democracy.
Likewise, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, rubbished the policy, saying it was unpopular, fruitless and counter-productive, stressing that the gale of violence spawned by the policy portends serious danger to the current democratic governance.
However, at the start of Wednesday’s proceeding, the motion for the consolidation of the different suits was raised and argued by the counsel for Rivers State, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, before the Supreme Court panel.