An High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Monday, restrained President Muhammadu Buhari, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Governor of CBN and 27 commercial banks from suspending, stopping, extending or interfering with the currency swap terminal date of February 10 or issue any directive contrary to the said deadline.
In a Motion by five political parties, namely Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and National Rescue Movement (NRM), the Court presided over by Justice Enenche also granted an order directing the CEOs of the 27 commercial banks and their alter egos to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the country by their illegal hoarding, withholding, not paying or disbursing the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes despite supply of such notes by the CBN.
It was gathered that this order of the Court has rendered futile all behind-the-scene efforts especially by Governors of some States to force the hand of the President to reverse the Naira swap policy or at least extend its deadline.
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Governors alleged to be behind the moves to stop this policy include the Governors of Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara, Ondo, Rivers, Imo, Benue and Kano States.
The order also ties the hands of bank CEOs and their staff who have been alleged to be hoarding the new banknotes and trading with them, thereby causing untold hardship to ordinary citizens.
Following the order, a cross-section of lawyers, Civil Society Organization and ethnic youth groups, have hailed the latest court order, saying it was best for the country and would afford the stakeholders opportunity to now concentrate on how to ameliorate the hardship occasioned by the policy.
Groups such as Arewa Consultative Youth Movement, Ohanaeze Youth Movement, and Oduduwa Youth Assembly have hailed the FCT High Court order.
Arewa Youths said that looters of the commonwealth of the people have lost out while Ohanaeze Youths insisted that vote buyers and election riggers have been relegated just as Oduduwa Youth held the view that kickbacks will be very difficult now, corruption greatly limited and chance for money laundering made slimmer.
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Furthermore, a continental civil society organization, the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), said the order of the court was the first step in sanitising the country’s financial market and help in conducting very credible polls as politicians will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to have access to cash to compromise the 2023 elections.
In the 27 grounds by the applicants, they made out a case showing that politicians who ostensibly are in possession of illicit funds were the ones who want the policies suspended.