Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has backed the Supreme Court judgment extending the validity of old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes till 31 December.
Also, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wahab Shittu has said that anyone standing in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on the extension of the validity of the old Naira notes should be arrested and prosecuted.
On Friday, Wike taunted the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, saying he has no option but to comply with the decision of the apex court.
“I thank God the Supreme Court today has told them the old money remains valid till the end of December.
“So, if you still have the old money, use it. The highest court of the land has said so.
“Too bad for the governor of Central Bank. He has no choice. There is no other directive that can override the judgment of the Supreme Court”, Wike said just after the apex court verdict in Abuja.
Wike had joined his Oyo State counterpart, Engr. Seyi Makinde to commission the state’s 5 million-litre Aviation Fuel Dispensing Depot at the Ibadan Airport in the Alakia.
The governor also called for true federalism and restructuring, saying there are many resources that should be controlled by state governments and not the Federal Government.
Wike said the Federal Government should refund Oyo State the money the government invested in the aviation fuel project or hand over the airport to the Makinde-led government.
“That is why we are talking about true federalism; that is why we are talking about restructuring. Certain things that the Federal Government gives to itself but will not perform. All they do by the end of the month is to collect a high percentage and begin to do all kinds of things”, he said.
On his part, Shittu said: “Once the Supreme Court sneezes, the country catches a cold. Once it makes a pronouncement, it takes immediate effect. The order of the Supreme Court does not require any other authority, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, before its directive should be complied with.
“Anyone standing in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court order should be immediately arrested, charged for contempt, and taken to prison”.
The apex court also nullified the Federal Government’s Naira redesign policy, declaring it as an affront to the 1999 Constitution.
The court said the policy has led to some people engaging in trade by barter in this modern age in a bid to survive.
Sixteen states led by Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara prayed to the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
The CBN had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from 31 January to 10 February following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court, after a suit filed by the states, held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the February 10 deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue.
However, in a national broadcast, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.