Naira redesign: Kano state drags FG to Supreme Court, says it violates 1999 constitution

The Kano State Government on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government at the Supreme Court over the naira redesign by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

In suit number SC/CS/200/2023, the Kano State Attorney General, through his lawyer, Sunusi Musa, is arguing that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot direct the CBN to recall the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes without first consulting the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Economic Council (NEC) respectively. 

The Kano government is seeking a court order to reverse the Federal Government’s policy of recalling these banknotes, citing the adverse impact it would have on the economic well-being of over 20 million Kano citizens. 

Kano State alleges naira redesign policy violates the 1999 constitution 

The Kano State Government in its suit also seeks a mandatory order to compel the Federal Government to reverse the naira redesign policy, alleging that it violates the 1999 Constitution. 

Similarly, it is asking the Supreme Court to mandate the Federal Government to reverse the cash swap policy, claiming that it does not comply with the 1999 Constitution and other relevant legislation. 

  • The suit partly reads, “A Declaration that on the combined reading of the provisions of Section 148(2) of the 1999 Constitution and Part 1, and Paragraph 19 of the Third Schedule thereof, the President cannot unilaterally, without recourse to the Federal Executive Council and National Economic Council respectively give approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria for the implementation of cash withdrawal limit pursuant to the demonetization economic policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.’’ 

In the originating summon, the Kano State Government further prayed for a declaration that the president’s directive to the CBN for the implementation of cash withdrawal limits policy pursuant to the demonetisation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without recourse to FEC and NEC respectively is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void. 

The applicant is also praying for a mandatory order reversing the policy of the Federal Government on the recall of old currency notes for alleged failure to comply with the provisions of the Constitution and other extant legislation. 

For the record 

  • The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had about 3 days ago, raised the alarm that people behind the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election are regrouping and using the current crisis generated by the naira redesign policy of the CBN to undermine Nigeria’s hard-earned democracy.
  • The CBN on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. The president subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed a January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
  • Following his meeting with APC Governors, who called for his intervention in the crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday, February 3, 2023, asked for a 7-day period to address the problems associated with the exercise as well as take a decision.
  • Recall that on February 6, 2023, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court had in a suit filed by 5 out of the 13 political parties, barred the CBN and President Muhammadu Buhari and 27 commercial banks from suspending or interfering with the currency redesign terminal date of February 10 or issuing any directive contrary to the said date.
  • The court in its order restrained the CBN from extending the deadline on the use of old naira notes.
  • Meanwhile, in a related development, the Supreme Court had about 2 days ago given an interim order to the CBN not to stop the use of old naira notes on February 10, 2023, in an ex-parte application by the 3 states including Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.