Apex court interim order on CBN, effort in futility – Barr. Agbasiere

 

…CBN new naira note introduction, for public good

By Elizabeth Osayande

A Nigerian legal practitioner, Barr. Anthony Agbasiere has noted that the interim order given by the Supreme Court restraining the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, from going on with the February 10 deadline was not binding, and as such would end in futility.

Agbasiere in a statement on Thursday noted that the move by the CBN was to protect Nigerians from some people who allegedly hoarded the old naira notes for selfish reasons.

Part of his statement read:” Yesterday, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states obtained an interim order from the Supreme Court of Nigeria purportedly restraining Central Bank of Nigeria from going on with the deadline set by the CBN February,10th when the old naira notes 200,500 and 1000 would cease to become legal tender. Shortly after that order was made, a video surfaced online that alleged showed a sitting governor addressing some people to continue using the old notes till the next four years. Many people have since joined him to applaud the Supreme Court without knowing that the order is a fruitless venture and a nullity ab initio.

” The CBN recently redesigned the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes and directed everyone with the old notes to deposit the same on or before 31st of January, 2023. Many Nigerians compiled but due to a series of interventions, it was shifted to 10th February, 2023. A move I suggested would make some people taking CBN to court.

“Recall, that on the January 29th, the Governor of CBN released a press statement that in 2015, the amount of naira that was in circulation was N1.4 trillion. In 2022, it rose to N3.3 trillion but the amount of money within the banking industry was N500 Billion while N2.7 trillion was being permanently held by some people in their homes.

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“The money kept by individuals certainly cannot be in the interest of the masses. In order to smoke out these people and prevent them from using the money to the detriment of poor Nigerians especially during this election, CBN set the deadline before the election after which the money will be useless and worthless as it ceases to be legal tender.

” This and nothing more was the rationale behind this revolution by some people in collusion and collaboration with bankers and bank owners want to frustrate the genuine effort of the CBN.” Barr. Agbasiere explained.

The legal luminary also noted that the Supreme Court has not jurisdiction to pass an interim order on the CBN.

His words: “The CBN was not a party to any suit. It is trite law that for an order of Court to bind someone or a party, the person must be a party to the suit. However, CBN was never a party and still not a party to that suit as such the order cannot bind on the apex bank.

“It is important to note that the CBN is not only a juristic person but an independent corporate organisation. See sections 1 (1)(2)(3) of the CBN Act, 2007. By her independence, she is not answerable to the Federal government or to the Attorney General of the Federation. By the virtue of section 2 (b), it shall be the duty and objective of the CBN to issue Legal tender currency in Nigeria.

*There is no other body that is statutorily empowered to do so. So, anybody or group of persons that have issue with the new naira policy and thought it necessary to file a suit must make the Central Bank of Nigeria a party ( necessary party) which might even entail service of pre-action notice.

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“The Supreme Court should not be swayed by some people that will cause an abuse to the law. I call on Ministers in the Temple of Justice, especially members of the bench, to put themselves in the shoes of all these suffering Nigerians and do the right thing irrespective of whose ox is gored.

“To the citizens, go and deposit the old naira now or share it to your people before it will lose value.” Agbasiere called.

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