The Federal Government on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to grant an extension of time for old naira notes to remain in circulation as a legal tender.
The government also wants the court to lift its March 3 order that the old naira notes should remain alongside the new notes till December 31.
In March, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had said old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes would remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
It said the extension of time is necessary and it has not been able to print the volume of new notes that would enable it to phase out old currency before the December 31 order.
In the fresh application by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, the Federal Government is seeking the following reliefs:
An order of the court reviewing its consequential order contained in the judgment of 3rd March, 2023 to the effect that the old 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes should be legal tender until the 31st of December, 2023.
The Federal Government further explained that should the Supreme Court decline its request to extend the period of circulation of old notes, the country stands the risk of descending into another national, economic and financial crisis as witnessed in the first quarter of the year when the naira redesign policy was being implemented under the former Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
It asked the court to allow the old notes to be in use with the new notes until after it consults with stakeholders, pointing out that the economy may be in jeopardy once again because some Nigerians have started hoarding the old and new naira notes ahead of the December 31st timeline.
The government said it has been engaging the 10 plaintiff states in their capacities as members of the National Council of State and the National Economic Council.
The 10 plaintiffs headed for the Supreme Court in the interest of the public, leading to judgment by the apex court extending the circulation of the old notes till December 31.
The government was said to have realised that unless there is a fresh order from the Supreme Court, the old notes can no longer be in circulation after December 31.
The Supreme Court has fixed November 30 for a hearing.
By Emmanuella Ekele
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