Following Nigeria’s Supreme Court decision almost two weeks ago mandating the use of old N,1000 and N500 notes as legal tender until December 31, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, finally caved in and officially ordered commercial banks to comply with the court verdict.
For weeks now, Nigerians have had to deal with a scarcity of cash owing to the directive from the country’s Central Bank, which instructed that Nigerians return all old Naira notes and begin using the newly designed ones.
The problem here lies in the fact that since the Naira’s redesign, there has been a gross shortage of new notes. Nigeria’s Central Bank simply has not printed enough of the new notes to service the country’s over 200 million population.
As a result of the mounting pressures, the governor of the Central Bank, on Monday instructed banks to begin releasing and accepting the old Naira notes till the end of the year.
The CBN governor noted that the decision was made following a meeting with the Bankers’ Committee on Sunday.
The development has cleared up any doubts about the legality of the old naira notes. The action is also expected to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians who have faced severe hardships due to a scarcity of new naira notes in the aftermath of the controversial ban on old notes.
Isa AbdulMumin, the acting Director of Corporate Communications, made this new development known via a statement titled ‘Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender – CBN’.
The statement 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 Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, 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 directed that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”
In its March 3 decision, the Supreme Court extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes until December 31. Despite pressure from Nigerians, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, refused to comply with the order.
Their actions also prompted commercial banks to refuse to accept the old notes as legal tender. It was only until yesterday that the CBN governor finally agreed to adhere to the supreme court’s decision.