ABUJA — Eleven communities in the riverine areas of Delta State have asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare the directive issued by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, to all financial institutions in Nigeria, limiting cash withdrawal by individuals and corporate bodies to N150,000.00 and N1,000,000.00 respectively, as null and void.
The plaintiffs are specifically praying the High Court for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the CBN and its governor, from implementing such policy, pending the hearing and determination of their substantive suit.
The communities behind the suit are Akpakpa, Ogidigben, Madagho, Ijalla, Kantu, Omadino, Ogheye, Dheghe, Ajudaibo, Obaghoro and Okrigho.
The plaintiffs who contended that going ahead with such plan would amount to an infringement on their fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended, equally joined the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation as a defendant in the suit.
Among other reliefs they are seeking from the court includes, “a declaration that the policy/directive issued by the 1st and 2nd respondents to all financial institutions in Nigeria to charge a punitive fine of N100.00 for every N1,000.00 withdrawn from such financial institution, is excessive, punitive, derogatory and a breach of the fundamental rights of the applicant under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended 1999 and is null and void.
As well as, “an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the respondents whether by themselves, their servants, agents, privies or other representatives, howsoever called, from implementing the policy/directive limiting cash withdrawal by individuals and corporate bodies to N150,000.00 and N1,000,000.00 respectively.”
Canvassing their arguments through an affidavit deposed to by a leader of one of the communities, Mr. Ayiri Emami, the plaintiffs maintained that implementing the directive would cause them severe economic hardship.
Emami averred that more than 50 per cent of workers under his employ in the community earn their wages on daily basis whilst the rest earn monthly salary, adding that he pays over N1,500,000.00 to workers on daily basis, except on Sundays.
He argued that the proceeds from all his businesses, which he deposited with various financial institutions within the state, are his property, insisting that he should statutorily have the exclusive right to determine the volume of withdrawal to make at any point in time.