The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has challenged the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to suspend the scheduled deadline for the use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 Naira notes.
Malami, in a preliminary objection he filed on behalf of the Federal Government, a copy of which Vanguard sighted on Wednesday night, applied for an order striking out the suit that three Northern States filed to halt the full implementation of the new monetary policy that was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court had on the strength of an ex-parte application that was filed by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, restrained FG and the CBN from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of the old banknotes.
In a unanimous decision, a seven-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Inyang Okoro, okayed continuation of the use of the old redesigned Naira notes as valid legal tender, pending the determination of the suit which it adjourned till February 15.
Meanwhile, the AGF who was cited as the sole Defendant in the suit marked: SC/CV/162/2023, applied for its outright dismissal.
Listing his grounds for challenging power of the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter, Malami, accused the three states of opposing FG’s power, through its agency, the CBN, to withdraw old Banknotes and introduce new ones.
“The Plaintiffs’ suit is about the power vested on the Central Bank of Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 to call in its Banknotes and introduce new ones.
“This suit as presently constituted, falls under section 251(1)(a)(p)(q) & (r) of the Constitution (exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court) by virtue of the subject matter and parties.
“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 Court’s original jurisdiction as constitutionally defined.
“This suit is an abuse of judicial process.
The Plaintiff have no locus standi to institute this action.
“The Plaintiffs have no reasonable cause of action against the Defendant”, Malami added.