Cash withdrawal: Court declines to stop policy

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Abuja, Dec. 16, 2022 – A  High Court in the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja has declined to grant an application seeking to stop the new cash withdrawal policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The application was brought before Justice Sylvanus Oriji by 10 named applicants for themselves and on behalf of 20 million  Nigerians who do not use banks.

Details of the court processes were obtained by journalists in Abuja on Thursday, although the court took the decision on Tuesday,

President Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele were listed as respondents.

The applicants prayed the court to grant injunctions restraining the respondents from proceeding with the January 31 2023 deadline for the use of the current N200, N500 and N1,000 notes as it affects the citizens without any real plans or workable guidelines to cover the over 20 million unbanked Nigerians who are vulnerable to information and the use of technologically driven platform without the possibility of financial inclusion.

They also prayed for an order restraining the CBN from implementing the revised cash withdrawal limiting the maximum cash withdrawal over the counter by individuals and corporate organisations per week to N100, 000 and N500, 000, respectively which, they said, was a violation of the  Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2002 and which also constitutes a flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of the applicants as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

Furthermore, they asked the court to grant an order for accelerated hearing to the suit and also an order for substituted service on the parties, while also praying for the order of court mandating the CBN to produce a detailed plan and guidelines covering the over 20 million unbanked citizens who are vulnerable to the use of telecommunication and technologically driven money platforms.

After listening to the counsel to the applicants, Justice Oriji declined the prayers for injunction, but rather directed that all the respondents be put on notice to come and show cause why the order for injunction should not be granted against them.

The Judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter to January 10 2023 after granting orders for accelerated hearing and substituted service. (GBN)

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