ABUJA, Feb 6 – Three states in Nigeria have asked the country’s highest court to stop the federal government and central bank from ending the use of old naira currency notes this week, saying this was causing hardships, ahead of an election later this month.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave a 10-day extension until Friday for citizens to turn in 1,000 ($2.17), 500 and 200 naira notes, after which they will cease to be legal tender.
The plan has sparked acute cash shortages and chaotic scenes at banks. Most transactions in Nigeria are still in cash.
Some ruling party officials have publicly accused the CBN of a plot to turn voters against its presidential candidate in the Feb. 25 election, in which President Muhammadu Buhari is not running because he is serving his final second term.
Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara state governments in northern Nigeria filed a suit in the Supreme Court on Monday saying the cash swap had caused restiveness among Nigerians and that this would “degenerate into the breakdown of law and order.”
The three states are seeking an order “restraining the federal government through the CBN (and) the commercial banks from suspending on the 10th of February 2023 the time frame within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira may no longer be legal tender.”
The court could make an interim ruling this week.