Floating of Naira: CBN Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction, Says Falana Lacks Locus Standi

Floating of Naira: CBN Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction, Says Falana Lacks Locus Standi


Wale Igbintade 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has questioned the legal standing of human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, for asking the Federal High Court to declare the decision to float the naira illegal.

The apex court also challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the case.

The CBN in its preliminary objection filed against Falana’s suit on the falling rate of the naira and dollarisation of the economy, challenged Falana’s locus standi.

Consequently, the apex bank urged the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that it was statute barred.

In his reliefs in the originating summons, Falana in the suit number: FHC/L/CS/470/23, had sought the order of the court to stop the CBN from allowing market forces to fix and determine the exchange rate of the naira vis-a-vis other currencies in line with Section 16 of the Central Bank Act.

In addition, the senior advocate prayed the court to compel the CBN to stop the dollarisation of the economy since Section 20(1) of the Act stipulates that the naira was the only legal tender in Nigeria.

The plaintiff prayed the court for a declaration that by virtue of Section 16 of the Central Bank Act, the legal tender acceptable in Nigeria was the naira and kobo and that by the combined effect of Sections 15 and 20 (1) of the Central Bank Act, the currency notes issued by the Defendant shall be legal tender in Nigeria

Falana, also prayed the court for a declaration that by virtue of Section 16 of the CBN Act, the exchange rate of the naira shall be determined, from time to time, by a suitable mechanism devised by the defendant for that purpose, as well as declaring that the defendant was not competent to allow multiple exchange rates of the naira vis-a-vis the dollars and other foreign currencies.

The plaintiff further prayed for a declaration that by virtue of Section 20(5) of the CBN Act, the defendant was under a legal obligation to prosecute any person who refuses to accept the Naira as a means of payment in Nigeria.

However, in the preliminary objections filed on behalf of the apex bank by Mr. Adeleke Agboola, the CBN contended that Falana was yet to show in any way that he stood to suffer more than other citizens of Nigeria concerning the exchange rate policy of the CBN, adding that Falana had no locus standi to institute the case and that he has not reported those who are trading in dollars in Nigeria.

Other objections included the fact that Falana has not shown that the CBN acted in bad faith and that the plaintiff had not disclosed a reasonable cause of action against the CBN.

The bank therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit or in alternative strike out the suit on the ground that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain it.

The bank argued that the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the suit and that the plaintiff has not disclosed a reasonable cause of action against the CBN.

The bank further submitted that the action was statute barred and that the action is not competent and maintainable against the defendant.

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