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Nigeria: Old Naira Banknotes to Remain Legal Tender – CBN

“Without prejudice, the Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public of its desire to extend the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, ad infinitum,” the statement said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it had extended the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 bank notes.

In a statement on Tuesday signed by its Director, Corporation Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, the bank said the notes remain legal tender ad infinitum.

“Please recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the redesign of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations in October 2022 and certain deadlines were set for the old design of these denominations to cease as legal tenders.

“Without prejudice, the Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public of its desire to extend the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, ad infinitum,” the statement said.

The bank said this is in line with international best practices and to forestall a repeat of earlier experiences.

“Thus, all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in accordance with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to remain legal tender, ad infinitum, even beyond the initial 31 December 2023, deadline.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria is working with the relevant authorities to vacate the subsisting court ruling on the same subject,” it said.

Accordingly, it said all CBN branches across the country will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and redesigned, to and from deposit money banks (DMBS).

“The general public is enjoined to continue to accept all Naira banknotes (old or redesigned) for day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes.

“Also, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions.”

Background

Last December, the CBN introduced new N200, N500, and N1000 notes, leading to the withdrawal of the old notes from circulation.

The policy caused chaos across the country, with protests breaking out in different parts of the country.

At the height of the melee, many Nigerians encountered challenges doing business and making cash payments in their daily transactions.

On 8 February, the Supreme Court gave an order restraining the CBN from enforcing the deadline for the phasing out of the N200, N500, and N1000 notes pending the hearing of a lawsuit brought by three states challenging the new currency redesign policy.

The order came as a relief for many bank customers as frustrated Nigerians had besieged ATM points in a bid to access their money.

But despite the order, both Mr Buhari and the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, refused to adhere to the court order.

Again, the Supreme Court on 3 March ruled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must extend the use of old banknotes until 31 December due to the negative impact of the policy. A seven-member panel of the court, led by John Okoro, unanimously ordered the CBN to continue receiving the old notes from Nigerian citizens.

The court found that President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the CBN on the withdrawal of old notes and redesign of new banknotes without proper consultation was invalid.

On 13 March, hours after the presidency said that Mr Buhari never directed the CBN to disobey the order of the Supreme Court, the CBN directed banks to comply with the apex court’s order and accept the old notes as legal tender until the end of the year.

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