Nigerian Cashless Policy Ruled Discriminatory
A policy of charging for cash deposits and withdrawals at the Central Bank of Nigeria has been ruled discriminatory and lacking ‘any rational and objective justification’ by a Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra.
New charges came into effect from 1 April 2020—in addition to existing ‘cash handling charges’—that introduced two to five percent processing fees for deposits and withdrawals over 500,000 naira ($1,200/€1,040) with the exact amount varying by account type.
The Federal High Court ruled that the policy is discriminatory and offends Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution in Anambra, Abia, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory.
I am unable to see any rational and objective justification for the selective imposition of financial penalties… for making cash withdrawals and lodgements/deposits over the stipulated threshold.
The suit was brought by legal practitioner Chijioke Ifediora against the apex court, inspired by his personal experience of being charged to make cash deposits into his bank account.
On enquiry, I was shown a Central Bank circular which was pasted across the cash machine… There is no constitutional foundation for such discriminatory policy neither is there any statutory enabler for such biased circular.