Justice Eneojo Eneche of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, has stopped the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), President Muhammadu Buhari and 27 commercial banks from suspending or interfering with the currency redesign terminal date of February 10, or issue any directive contrary to the said date.
In a motion by five political parties, the court also granted an order directing the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the banks, to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the financial sabotage of the country, by illegally hoarding and not disbursing the new N200, N500, and N1000 bank notes, despite supply of such notes by the central bank.
Buhari, last year, approved the redesign of the banknotes. The move has, however, created hardship among Nigerians who have struggled to lay hands on the new notes as the February 10th deadline for the currency swap inches closer.
In the wake of the naira swap crisis, the CBN maintained it would not extend the deadline.
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The recent CBN policy has been met with polarising views as some have expressed support for the apex bank’s decision, while many others have kicked against it as insensitive to the average Nigerian.
On the one hand, some critics of the directive have accused the central bank of deceiving Buhari.
For instance, a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, faulted the policy, describing it as senseless and a plot by the apex bank to scuttle the general elections.
According to him, the CBN sold an anti-corruption motive to the President which made him approve the policy.
On the other hand, in spite of the policy presented as targeted at corrupt politicians and hoarders of illicit funds, some others like the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; and Labour Party, Peter Obi, have shown support for the CBN.
See the court documents below: