Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has directed security agencies in the state to arrest those rejecting the old naira notes, saying that it was against the constitutional rights of citizens.
“Anyone who refuses to accept the old currency notes of N200, N500, and N1000 in the state should be arrested,” Mr Matawalle said in a statement by his media aide, Jamilu Iliyasu, on Saturday.
The governor spoke during the swearing-in of four newly-appointed High Court judges and nine special advisers to beef up justice administration and other affairs.
Mr Matawalle, who described the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as good, however, noted that it came at the wrong time, making it challenging to implement.
The governor noted that the old currency notes remained legal tender until the final verdict of the Supreme Court on the matter.
“Myself, Kogi and Kaduna states counterparts are seeking the Supreme Court to order the extension and validity of the old 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes.
“As you are all aware, the economy of the country has been plunged into a serious crisis by the decision of the CBN to cease recognition of the old Naira notes as legal tender from February 10.
“This decision compounded the already dire situation of our state, occasioned by banditry and sundry crimes, which significantly disrupted economic activities in the state and the subregion over the years,” Mr Matawalle said.
The governor said he considered the consequences of the policy, hence, his decision to team up with other states in dragging the federal government to court.
“Our aim is to ensure that both the new and old naira notes remain as legal tender beyond February 10.
“The apex court has already given an interim injunction barring the CBN from enforcement of its plan of derecognising the old notes as legal tender from today, pending its final ruling on the matter on February 15,” he said.
He added, “This courageous decision by the Supreme Court has no doubt saved the country from sliding into a crisis of great proportion that may affect the peace and stability of the country and possibly prevent the holding of the general elections billed for this month.”
He expressed happiness that the old currency was now valid and people could still use and make transactions with it until the final verdict of the Supreme Court.
On the new appointees of the state high court, Mr Matawalle said their appointments were based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and their unwavering commitment to the rule of law, track record of hard work, and qualifications.
He implored them to play critical roles in upholding the constitution while protecting the rights of all citizens, regardless of their status or background.
He, therefore, expressed his administration’s continued commitment to support the new judges in their endeavours and ensure that the judiciary in the state continued to deliver justice efficiently and fairly.