There was pandemonium on Monday at the high courts in Lagos State as lawyers and litigants were unable to file their court processes using the old naira notes for payment.
Officials at the high court registries rejected the old naira notes, saying banks were no longer accepting them as legal tender.
The development brings a new twist to the lingering naira crisis the country is grappling with.
Account officers at both the Lagos Island and Ikeja high court registries insisted that new naira notes should be paid by lawyers and litigants, explaining that their attempts to pay old naira notes collected from court users into the government account were denied banks.
A staff at the Ikeja High Court registry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to speak on the matter, said they received a directive from their boss to stop collecting old notes because when they took old notes collected from court users to four different banks, namely FCMB, Polaris, UBA, and Fidelity, they rejected the old money.
The court official noted that, henceforth, lawyers and litigants must come with only the new naira notes.
One of the affected lawyers, who spoke to The PUNCH on the phone but didn’t want his name in print, said the registry at Osborne Division of Lagos High Court rejected the old notes and turned him back from filling his processes.
He lamented that the order of the Supreme Court that the old naira notes should remain in circulation was being ignored.
“Non-acceptance of old notes would be a catastrophe to the nation. The highest court in the land, Supreme Court, order is being flouted with impunity. It is obvious that the CBN, especially the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is ready to impose a state of anarchy on Nigeria by directing banks against the order of the apex court.”
The Supreme Court had on February 8, 2023, made an interim order, restraining the CBN from going ahead with the enforcement of its February 10, deadline for the use of the old naira note.
A seven-member panel of the court, led by John Okoro, gave the order of interim injunction amid an acute scarcity of the newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes.
Last December, the CBN introduced the new notes amid efforts to fight corruption, terrorism, counterfeiting and related crimes.
However, Nigerians have had a hard time getting the new notes amid scarcity and rising tension across the country.