Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has now officially ordered commercial banks to comply with the court verdict which ruled that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
Emefiele’s order to banks on Monday comes exactly 10 days after the Supreme Court judgment and after a meeting with the Bankers’ Committee that was held on Sunday.
The development has put an end to the confusion over the legality of the old naira notes and the decision is also expected to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians who have faced severe hardships over the scarcity of new naira notes amid the controversial ban on the old notes.
The acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, disclosed the latest development in a statement titled, ‘Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender – CBN’.
The statement read, “In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the rule of law principle that characterised 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 has 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.”
Earlier on Monday, the Nigerian Bar Association and Nigeria Labour Congress had berated the Federal Government and the CBN for failing to obey the Supreme Court judgment on the old naira notes.
The NBA came down hard on the President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for failing to obey the Supreme Court judgment.
The Supreme Court had in its March 3 judgment extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes until December 31.
But the AGF and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele refused to comply with the order despite pressure from Nigerians. Their actions also encouraged commercial banks to reject the old notes as legal tender.