The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, shut its door to more states seeking to be joined as interested parties in the suit challenging the decision of the Federal Government to ban the use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes as valid legal tenders.
A seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court, in a unanimous decision, asked all the states interested in the matter to await its decision in the suit that was originally filed by three northern states- Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.
The panel headed by Justice Inyang Okoro took the decision after it rejected a joinder application that was filed by Abia State.
It proceeded to consolidate the different suit that was filed by Rivers State, with all the pending cases challenging the Naira swap policy that FG introduced through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
All the suits the apex court consolidated for hearing on Wednesday, were marked: SC/CV/162/23, SC/CV/162/23, SC/CS/197/23, SC/CV/200/23, SC/CV/210, SC/CV/227, SC/CV/229/23 and SC/CV/222/23.
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It will be recalled that the court had earlier joined seven states- Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Sokoto and President Muhammadu Buhari’s homestate, Katsina, as parties to the suit that was filed by the three northern states.
Though only the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was initially cited as the sole defendant in the matter, the apex court okayed requests by Edo and Bayelsa states to be allowed to join the suit to support FG as co-plaintiffs.
Rivers, Kano, Jigawa and Nasarawa states had maintained that there own case was different, stressing that their grouse was not only with the Naira swap policy, but also with the cash withdrawal limits the CBN allowed for corporate entities and individuals, respectively.
While consolidating all the cases, the Supreme Court noted that the issue in dispute resolves around Section 20(3) of the CBN Act.
It held that there was no need for more states to apply for permission to join the legal fireworks.
“We will no longer join any state in this matter. When we give our decision, whoever that is dissatisfied can file a fresh suit. There is still time”, the apex court held.