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Old Naira case exclusive jurisdiction of court

Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, through his lawyers on Wednesday said the suit filed by three state governments challenging the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is an exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.

Citing Section 251 of the Constitution, the defence lawyers argued that the suit falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in matters of monetary policy of an agency of the Federal Government.

Mahmud Magaji and Tijanni Gazali who are both representing the AGF said “The claims or reliefs are not against the federation, but the Federal Government and its Agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is distinct from the Federation or the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Plaintiffs have no grievance whatsoever against the Federation of Nigeria.

“This suit has disclosed no dispute that invokes this (Supreme) Court’s original jurisdiction as constitutionally defined,” the AGF added.

Three state governments Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had sued the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy of the CBN.

In the suit filed on February 3, the states urged the Supreme Court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari, the CBN and commercial banks to cancel the February 10 deadline for the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes as Nigeria’s legal tender.

Ruling on an ex parte request by the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court, ordered the Federal Government to halt the implementation of the currency redesign policy pending the determination of the substantive suit.

But in a preliminary objection filed by the AGF through his lawyers the Federal Government argued that the Supreme Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Writing by Juliet Onwurah

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