Nigerians are still facing the hurdles of having access to cash despite the Supreme Court’s recent judgment, which was delivered on March 3, 2023.
Checks by TechEconomy on Thursday reveal that Fidelity Bank at Mushin paid customers in old naira notes (N1000 and N500), including Access Bank at Oshodi, while a few other banks were not giving out the old notes.
Both the new and the old notes are still very limited in circulation. The problems are becoming more complex as many stakeholders in the country continue to call on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make cash available for Nigerians.
Businesses and traders are reporting low patronage, due to the limited availability of cash. Consumers are more cautious with their spending, which has resulted in a drop in sales for many businesses, especially small businesses that rely heavily on consumer spending to stay afloat.
More worrisome is that CBN has been reticent over the Supreme Court judgment. It is yet to either counter or support the verdict.
Some of the deposit banks are probably waiting for the apex bank to release a circular ordering the payout of old notes.
“The notes are not sufficient, and we don’t have any directives yet from the CBN,” said an official of a new generation bank who does not want to have her name mentioned.
Seven days ago, the apex court, in a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, held that the old banknotes should remain valid legal tender until December 31.
It held that the old Naira notes should be used alongside the redesigned currencies.
It faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing the demonization policy, without due consultation with the Council of States, the Federal Executive Council, the Civil Society, and other relevant stakeholders.
“The CBN is a creation of statutes as a body corporate that is an agent of the Federal Government in the formulation of government policy. “Any order given against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is binding on any related body that is a creation of written law,” said Mr. Douglas Ogbankwa, a lawyer.
“The AGF is the chief law officer of the federation, and he should be at the forefront of ensuring seamless and expeditious obedience to the judgment of the Supreme Court. Judgments of courts are meant to be obeyed, as a society, which does not follow the rule of law, like fish out of water, will die.
“The law is both for the governed and the government, and it is in the interest of the government to obey court orders as it is usually the ultimate casualty in a state of a breakdown of law and order,” he argued.
Godwin Emefiele who heads the CBN is a party to the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by President Buhari. It will be impossible for the CBN Governor to make any pronouncement contrary to the opinion of the President.