From Fred Itua, Abuja

A coalition of national interest defenders, comprising lawyers and civil society organisations, have hailed the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, restraining the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and twenty seven listed commercial banks from suspending, stopping, extending or interfering with the currency redesign terminal date of February 10th or issue any directive contrary to the February 10 date.

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The groups in a statement signed by their convener, Tochukwu Ohazuruike, also hailed the Court for granting an order directing the Chief Executive Officers of the banks and their alter egos to show cause why they should not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the country by their illegal hoarding, withholding, not paying or disbursing the new N200 N500 and N1000 bank notes despite supply of such notes by the Central Bank.

The statement reads: “We hope CBN obeys the Court order and ensure that the February 10th deadline remains sacrosanct. No more extension will be tolerated. CBN has operational and monetary policy independence. Section 1 (3) of the CBN Act 2007 states, “in order to facilitate the achievement of its mandate under this Act and the Banks and Other Financial Act, and in line with the objective of promoting stability and continuity in economic management, the Bank shall be an independent body in the discharge of its functions. Emefiele should go ahead and carry on his Constitutional duties and not again succumb to the selfish needs of politicians, who are worried about loosing election and disguising that they are calling for extension in the interest of Nigerians.”