CBN bows to pressure, says old naira notes remain legal tender

Ezekiel Johnson
Ezekiel Johnson
CBN bows to pressure, says old naira notes remain legal tender
Naira notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has declared that the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023 as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Isa AbdulMumin, made this declaration in a statement he issued Monday evening.

The statement came shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari broke his silence on the refusal of the CBN to comply with the directive of the Supreme Court that the old notes remained legal tender until December 31 of this year.

The president, in a statement by his media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, said he had no hand in the obstinacy of the CBN and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, regarding the controversy over the cashless policy and the order of the Supreme Court.

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The statement by the spokesman of the CBN declaring  that the old notes remained legal tender reads:

“In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.

“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.

“Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”

The Supreme Court had on March 3, ruled in favour of the continued use of Nigeria’s old naira notes until December 31, 2023.

By the verdict which was given on Friday, the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes are to remain in circulation because they are legal tender.

The Supreme Court declared the naira redesign policy as against the 1999 constitution and declared it annulled.

The court, in the judgement read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, dismissed the preliminary objections by the defendants – the Attorney General of the Federation, Bayelsa and Edo states.

It declared that the court had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

The apex court said the policy had led to Nigerians engaging in the obsolete trade by barter in this modern age in order to survive.

It would be recalled that the suit was initially instituted by the government of Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara states, to challenge the legality of the new policy.

They were later joined by other states.

However, despite the Supreme Court judgement since March 3, the CBN had been taciturn, a situation which created controversy as to whether or not Nigerians could spend the old notes.

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