Moyosore Onigbanjo, the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, has talked about the Supreme Court ruling on new naira notes.
He said that the position of the Supreme Court on the naira redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria remains valid.
The AG said the rejection of the old notes by some persons and institutions in the country was contrary to the stand of the apex court, adding that petrol stations, banks and others who were rejecting the old notes could be prosecuted.
Onigbanjo stated these when he appeared on TVC Business Show on Thursday.
This was coming on the heels on the national broadcast by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), where he (Buhari) stated that the old N500 and N1000 notes had lost their legal tender status while the old N200 notes should be recirculated by the CBN until April 10, 2023.
Onigbanjo decried the crisis caused by naira scarcity and condemned the high charges by Point-of-Sales operators which have fostered untold hardship on Nigerians.
He noted that people who are hungry and have their means of livelihood eroded cannot care about any macro-economic policy or its short or long-term gain.
He also advised Lagosians who have been impacted by the naira crisis to press charges as, according to him, it was a breach of contract by the banks that refused to pay them cash.
He said, “There is a contract between a customer and a bank that says when you bring your money to us you can have it back on demand. Any bank that refuses to give the money on demand has violated the terms and conditions of that contract and can be sued. I will advise Lagosians who have experienced suffering and injury as a result of the situation to press charges.”
Onigbanjo lamented the fact that Nigerians were buying their own money, adding that, “Even the producers of goods and services are losing money due to the scarcity of new notes to purchase their products easily.”
The commissioner, commenting on Buhari’s broadcast, said the President, even though having enormous powers, had no power to repeal the order of the Supreme Court or any court for that matter.
The Supreme Court had in a ruling granted an interim injunction that the CBN and the FG should suspend the implementation of the February 10 deadline for the expiration of the legal tender status of the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes pending the hearing and determination of a suit before it.
The hearing had been slated for February 22, 2022.
However, Buhari had announced in a national broadcast on Thursday, February 16, that only the old N200 note would remain valid until April 10 while the old N500 and N1000 notes had lost their legal tender status, contrary to the ruling of the apex court.