BY Bolanle Olabimtan
The supreme court says it will deliver judgment in the suit challenging the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on March 3.
The seven-member panel of the apex court communicated the decision on Wednesday.
The governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had argued that the policy was aimed at making the ruling party unpopular ahead of the elections.
Given the adjournment of the supreme court, the judgment can only be delivered after the presidential election billed for Saturday, February 25.
Six more states — Rivers, Kano, Niger, Jigawa, Nasarawa, and Abia — joined the suit when it came up for hearing, making a total of 16 states.
The suit was initiated by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara before the supreme court.
The states are seeking to restrain the federal government from giving effect to the deadline on the use of old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
On February 8, the supreme court restrained the CBN from giving effect to the deadline following an ex parte application brought by the three states.
Subsequently, several states approached the apex court to be joined in the suit.
Ondo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Cross River, Lagos, and Sokoto states were among the first batch to be joined as co-plaintiffs, while Edo and Bayelsa states joined the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) as defendants.
The plaintiffs are arguing that the implementation of the policy has caused untold hardship for Nigerians.
Kaduna and Kogi states, represented by Abdulhakeem Mustapha, asked the supreme court to set aside the preliminary objection of the AGF in opposition to the suit for being in contempt of the supreme court order of February 8.
Jigawa state, represented by Abiodun Owonikoko, asked the court to set aside the directive in President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech delivered on February 15.
“We urge the court to set aside the directive of President Buhari limiting the supreme court’s directive to only the old N200 note. It is a disrespect to the authority of the court,” he said.
Moyosore Onigbanjo, attorney-general of Lagos, asked the court to prohibit the AGF or his principal, President Buhari, from being granted an audience until they comply with the order made on February 8.
He said the suit was not filed for Lagos residents but for the state government itself.
“The policy has impacted on Lagos state and is affecting the government from carrying out its constitutional functions,” he said.