The Nation reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor,mr Godwin Emefiele is in contempt if he has not issued a directive to banks to pay and accept old N1,000 and N500 notes as ordered by the Supreme Court, eminent professor of law Itse Sagay (SAN) has said.
The Supreme Court last Friday held that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes would remain legal tender until December 31 and co-exist with the new ones.
Speaking at a media parley in Lagos on the activities of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), which he chairs, Prof Sagay restated that every Supreme Court order is binding on all.
He said: “Every decision of the Supreme Court is binding on everybody, including the government, its agencies and the President.
“The only thing is that nothing can be done if the President decides to disregard it because of his immunity, but he is bound by law.
“The CBN does not need anyone to give it instructions to obey a judgment because it is an agency of the Federal Government.
“So, if the CBN has not yet directed banks to obey the Supreme Court decision, it means that the governor Godwin Emefiele is committing contempt of court and there could be consequences for that.
“We hear there is a level of obedience by some banks that are paying and accepting the old notes, so hopeful the level of compliance will increase.
“But, everybody is bound by the judgment, including the Attorney-General of the Federation. He is bound by the judgment.”
A PACAC member, Prof Etannibi Alemika, said more awareness was needed to reassure Nigerians that the old notes remain valid.
He said: “I think it will take time for people rejecting old notes to be reassured. It is not possible to arrest everyone who rejects it.
“We should have a statement from the CBN saying that the old notes remain legal tender in the light of the Supreme Court judgment.
“A statement is required because I think people are not too sure whether the CBN would comply with the Supreme Court judgment.
“Before the week runs out, I expect that there should be clarity.”