Ten states have asked the supreme court to declare the new directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, reintroducing the old N200 notes and banning old N500 and N1,000 naira notes as unconstitutional.
The governors, in Suit No SC/CV/162/2023, filed on Friday by their counsel, A.J. Owonikoko (SAN), want the apex court to declare the President’s directives in his Thursday’s broadcast as unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs, which comprised the 10 states in the ongoing suit, are Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ekiti, Ondo, Katsina, Ogun, Cross-river, Lagos and Sokoto states.
The plaintiffs, in a 12 grounds of application, argued that Buhari’s directive extending the validity of old N200 notes for 60 days and his ban on old N500 and N1,000 notes are an “unconstitutional overreach and usurpation of the judicial power” of the Supreme Court being that the case is already before the court.
They stated that by varying the order of the supreme court, the president has caused an “embarrassing dilemma as to which directives and order should be complied with between the order of the Supreme Court and the counter-directive of the first defendant, which was issued later in time.”
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The counsel for the applicants cited Section 232(1), Section 6(6)(b) and Section 287(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which includes the protection of the Supreme Court’s dignity and which ensure compliance with its orders by all persons and authorities.
In the motion on notice, the states are praying the court for an order setting aside the directive in the special and presidential media broadcast, delivered on Thursday, February 16, 2023, by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( the substantive defendant in the suit) for being an unconstitutional overreach and usurpation of the judicial power of this court and a matter constituting the subject matter of the pending suit herein; and in respect whereof there subsists an order of interim injunction, binding on all parties, inclusive of the president, who is a party through the named nominal defendant in person of the first defendant as the chief legal officer of the Federation”.
The plaintiffs referenced that the substantive suit which commenced on February 8th is currently before the court with an interim injunction to the effect that the old N200, N500, N1,000 notes remained legal tender in Nigeria pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The plaintiffs further stated that the interim order of the Supreme Court was reaffirmed on February 15, 2023.
“Contrary to the order of this honourable court, the substantive first defendant through the president of the Federation and its agent, the Central Bank of Nigeria have repeatedly released statements that the old naira notes are no longer legal tender, hence resulting in misleading the general public on what the status quo to be complied with, pendente lite should be”.
“…the first defendant decided to openly flout the orders of the Honorable court on Thursday, the 16th of February 2023 when the President delivered a special and presidential media broadcast, during which the President openly and publicly varied the order of the court by directing that all the old Naira notes excluding the old N200 were no longer legal tender and same would not be accepted except by the Central Bank of Nigeria, at its branches or designated points”.