The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit instituted against the cash-less policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In a suit filed on behalf of eleven Riverine Communities in the Delta State, challenging the policy which restricted cash withdrawals and lodgments to a daily limit, the judge, Honourable Justice Balkisu Bello Aliyu held that “the policy directive issued by the respondents, the Central Bank of Nigeria and its Governor does not contravene the fundamental right of the applicant under section 44(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended or under any section in chapter IV of the said constitution.”
Justice Aliyu also stated that “the applicant is not obliged to transact banking business with any bank at all. But where he decides to do so, he must comply with any regulations the respondents issued for the regulation of that sector.”
The judge therefore, declared that she found no merit in this suit and it was dismissed accordingly.
The judge further ruled “that in as much as the Government will grant licences for the establishment of banks and other financial institutions for the benefit of its people, the choice of whether or not to make use of such institutions is entirely the discretion of the people. In other words, it is up to any person (corporate or individual) citizen or not living in Nigeria to decide to lodge his money in any bank or financial institutions.
The individual or corporate transaction with their banks is a civil contract or agreement between the customers and their banks or financial institution. Right to banking or right to transact banking business is not one of the fundamental rights protected by chapter IV of the Nigerian constitution of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.”
Recall that following the introduction of the cash-less policy by the CBN, one Barrister Ayiri Emami, acting on behalf of himself and indigenes of eleven Riverine Communities of Delta State namely, Akpakpa, Ogidigben, Madagho, Ijalla, Kantu, Omadino, Ogheye, Dhege, Ajudaibo, Obaghoro and Ikoghoro, approached the court to challenge the policy praying that: one - the limit imposed by the Bank was an infringement on their fundamental human rights; and that the policy directive issued by the Bank and its Governor to all financial institutions in Nigeria to charge N100.00 for every N1000.00 withdrawn was excessive, punitive, and a breach of the fundamental rights.