The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has directed all commercial banks to dispense and receive old naira notes as legal tender across the country in accordance with the Supreme Court order alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.

According to reports, the CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, 12th March 2023, and was released in a statement by the acting Director, of CBN Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, on Monday 13th March, 2023.

Isa AbdulMumin said:

 ”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 CBN’s directive came shortly after the Presidency in a statement issued by the senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu stated that President Muhammadu Buhari did not direct the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele to disobey the Supreme Court order on the naira swap deadline.

Stating that the Central bank had no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President, and President has never interfered in the activities of the judiciary and had no reason to do that now he had a few months to exit from office.

Adding that President Buhari has also rejected the impression that he lacks compassion, saying that “no government in our recent history has introduced policies to help economically marginalized and vulnerable groups like the present administration.”

President Buhari had in a National broadcast on the 16th February, 2023, directed that only the old N200 naira be re-circulated.

The State Governments threatened to file contempt charges against the two top officials on Tuesday 13th March 2023, should they fail to obey the apex court which ordered that the old N1000, N500 and N200 should be in circulation alongside the new notes till December 31, 2023.

Story: Hilda Katu