The Supreme Court ruled that banks’ cash withdrawal restrictions—imposed as a result of the limited supply of currency notes in use—violated the rights of residents.

The pronouncement was made in a unanimous ruling issued on Friday by a seven-member court panel chaired by John Okoro.

Unless authorized by law, a restriction on a property owner’s freedom to use their property is unlawful, according to Emmanuel Agim, a judge on the court’s panel who read the main decision.

The court issued its ruling in a lawsuit contesting the illegal removal of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 from circulation by the federal government.

In October 2022, the federal government demonetized its currency and launched the newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

Under the policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also placed cash withdrawal limits of maximum of N500,000 weekly on individuals and maximum N5 million weekly on corporate entities.

Due to a shortfall of the new notes, there has been chaos in the policy’s implementation throughout the nation.

In a frenzied hunt for cash to cover their basic requirements, many individuals stood in line at ATM locations, but frequently went home empty-handed. Due to the circumstance, those who were denied access to their hard-earned money violently protested.

In a fruitless effort to divide available cash among the greatest number of residents equally, commercial banks resorted to imposing limits on the amount of cash that clients may withdraw.

The commercial banks’ actions were deemed a breach of citizens’ rights by the Supreme Court.