A Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja has stopped President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as 27 commercial banks from suspending or interfering with the February 10 currency redesign terminal date.
The court, meanwhile, ordered that any of the commercial banks found hoarding the N200, N500, and N1,000 redesigned notes would be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law of the country.
NewsBeatng reports that Justice Eneojo Eneche gave the order on Monday after reviewing the suit brought before the court by four applicants, asking that the date fixed by the apex bank for the currency swap be maintained.
The applicants were four political parties and they were Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and National Rescue Movement (NRM).
This order of the Court has rendered futile all behind the scene efforts especially by Governors of some states to force the hand of the President to reverse the policy or at least extend same. Governors alleged to be behind the moves to stop this policy include the Governors of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Rivers, Imo, Benue and Kano
The order also ties the hands of bank CEO’s and their staff who have been alleged to be hoarding the new bank notes and trading with them thereby causing untold hardship to ordinary citizens.
Following the order, a cross section of lawyers, Civil Society Organization and ethnic youth groups interviewed hailed the order saying it was best for the country and would afford the stakeholders opportunity to now concentrate on how to ameliorate the hardship occasioned by the policy.
Groups such as Arewa Consultative Youth Movement, Ohanaeze Youth Movement, Oduduwa Youth Assembly all hailed the order.
Arewa Youths said that looters of the common wealth of the people have lost out while Ohanaeze Youths insist that vote buyers and election riggers have been relegated just as Oduduwa Youth hold the view that kickbacks will be very difficult now, corruption greatly limited and chance for money laundering made slimmer.
Furthermore, a continental civil society organization, the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights says the order of the court is the first step in sanitizing the country’s financial market and help in conducting very credible polls as politicians will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to have access to cash to compromise elections.
In the 27 grounds by the applicants they made out a case showing that politicians who ostensibly are in possession of illicit funds are the ones who want the policies suspended.