The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, said it would not allow the Federal Government and states of the federation to turn the Judiciary to a scapegoat in the legal dispute that is currently trailing the ban on use of the N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes as valid legal tenders.
Justice Inyang Okoro, who is heading a seven-man panel of the apex court, made the declaration while consolidating various suits that different states filed to halt the full implementation of the Naira swap policy that was recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The court had shortly before it stood down its proceedings to allow all the states it joined as interested parties in the matter, to regularise their processes, bemoaned the fact that the dispute has placed the judiciary in the eye of the storm.
The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, had before the court went on 10 minutes short break, drew attention to the fact that it had yet to receive any process from FG, in respect of the case.
Onigbanjo noted that with the development, the planned hearing of the consolidated suits of the states may be hampered.
However, before the Lagos AG could conclude his submission, the apex court panel restated its resolve to ensure that the matter was expeditiously heard and determined.
“We want to make it very clear that we are going to hear this matter today because we don’t want a situation where the judiciary will be made a scapegoat.
“With the way this matter is going, they want to make the judiciary a scapegoat but we can’t allow that.
“We are going to hear everything and take our decision. If you have a contempt proceeding, we will also hear it today”, leader of the panel, Justice Okoro stated.
Though the court initially said it would no longer allow any state to join the case as interested party, however, upon its resumed proceedings after the break, it okayed a joinder application that was filed by Abia State.