A Nigerian-born medical doctor, residing in the United States, Dr Oludare Marindoti, recently filed a lawsuit at a Federal High Court in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, compelling the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the 10 February, 2023 deadline for the expiration of the old naira notes by six months.
The suit filed by Dr Marindoti, who is also founder, Social Rehabilitation Grace and Supportive Initiative (SRG) seeks to protect the interests of many Nigerians who are affected by the phasing out of the old naira notes. The lawsuit seeks an interim injunction which restrains the Central Bank of Nigeria from enforcing the 10 February, 2023 deadline for the cessation of the old naira notes.
In addition, the applicant wants a temporary restraining order to prevent the respondent from establishing a deadline for old N200, N500, and N1000 notes because they claim that doing so violates the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 while the motion on notice is being heard and decided.
The six months’ extension requested by the medical practitioner should provide sufficient time Nigerians to adequately adjust according to them.
The old naira notes have been in circulation for over two decades and are used by the majority of Nigerians, however, they are gradually being phased out. This decision to stop using the notes is expected to usher in economic reform and spur economic growth. However, this transition period is not going to be without challenges, particularly for those who rely heavily on them such as the rural poor and SMEs.
The suit by the Dr Marindoti reflects the plight of ordinary Nigerians and its success will undoubtedly propel economic development and reforms in Nigeria. It is hoped that the court will take into consideration the broader implications of the phase-out of the old naira notes and grant SRG founders’ request. It is only through the collective effort of all stakeholders that a more equitable and just economic system can be achieved.