The CBN was urged to extend the deadline for old 1000, 500, and 200 naira notes until January 31 by
Mr. Alobo, a law professor.
Joshua Alobo, a lawyer, has filed a lawsuit against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about the deadline set for the usage of old notes to expire on January 31.
The CBN was urged to extend the deadline for old 1000, 500, and 200 naira notes until January 31 by Mr. Alobo, a law professor.
The lawsuit requested in particular that the court make an order "increasing the duration where the old notes cease to become legal tender to period of three weeks when the new notes will be suitably dispense by the commercial banks."
He named the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and its governor, Godwin Emefiele, as defendants.
In an affidavit submitted under oath by Musa Damudi, Mr. Alobo admitted that the central bank had announced the release of newly designed N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes on October 26, 2022.
The complainant bemoaned the fact that the less fortunate Nigerians were yet to get the new naira notes, which President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled in November.
‘New notes not in circulation’
Mr. Alobo charged that money deposit banks had failed to provide their clients with the new notes.
He claimed that as of January 25, he was still given old notes at the cash register and by an ATM (ATM).
The plaintiff added that ATM daily withdrawal limits are set at N20,000 and that Abuja major malls are no longer accepting old currency.
He argued that while people who are politically exposed get paid with the new notes, the 31 January deadline for old notes "discriminates against the rural inhabitants, the impoverished, and less-privileged citizens in society."
The attorney acknowledged that "the Central Bank of Nigeria's cashless policy is novel and a positive development, but the majority of the population lives in rural areas without access to the internet or banking services."
We humbly suggest that the deadline of January 31, 2023 for the phase-out of old Naira notes is crucial from a constitutional perspective for the continued economic survival of the enormous population that makes up the country of Nigeria.
The lawsuit contended that "there is a high proportion of people in Nigeria with poorer educational backgrounds and economic realities of rural inhabitants and some Local Governments without a single bank."
Mr. Alobo said that the circumstance led to "uncertainty as to the full adoption of the redesigned naira notes" and cited attempts by the State Security Service (SSS) to arrest Mr. Emefiele on charges of sponsoring terrorism.
Many Nigerians have connected this decision by the Federal High Court in Abuja to the top bank's monetary policy to redesign Nigeria's official currency, the naira, which tried to arrest the SSS in an exparte application.
The SSS and Mr. Emefiele remained at odds up until the latter's departure for Nigeria. On January 13, he entered the nation, and they subsequently spoke with Mr. Buhari.
Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, claimed the policy was designed to thwart his bid for the presidency. The CBN's naira redesign program has drawn criticism from many Nigerians.
Nigerians have flocked in large numbers to banks in the nation's major cities to deposit their old bank notes as Tuesday is the deadline.
Many Nigerians are rushing to fulfill the deadline of January 31 in a disorderly manner, flooding banks rooms with large amounts of old currency to exchange for new.
Others can be seen waiting in long lines at the few ATM locations that have the new naira notes available in various regions of the nation.
Due to the dearth of the new notes and the CBN's steadfast determination to meet the deadline on January 31, many Nigerians are no longer able to conduct even the most basic of transactions since merchants have ceased gathering the old notes.
The court hearing for the lawsuit has not yet been scheduled.
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