The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed commercial banks to dispense and receive old naira notes as legal tender across the country.
The CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, according to a statement by the acting Director, CBN Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, on Monday.
This is coming hours after the Presidency Monday evening said the CBN had no reason not to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court on the naira redesign policy.
It stated that President Muhammadu Buhari did not instruct the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to disobey “any court orders involving the government and other parties.”
But the apex bank in a statement titled, “Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes Remain Legal Tender – CBN’, said the directive was in compliance with Buhari’s administration obedience to court orders.
The statement read, “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 Muhammad Buhari, 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 N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.
Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”
For over one week after the court handed down the order, the AGF and the CBN have kept quiet over the verdict. Their silence has emboldened Nigerians and businesses to reject the old notes as legal tender.
Meanwhile, state governments, which sued the Federal Government on the naira redesign policy, have given the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, till Tuesday to comply with the order of the Supreme Court on the currency.
The state governments threatened to file contempt charges against the two top officials on Tuesday should they fail to obey the apex court which ordered that the old N1,000, N500 and N200 should be in circulation alongside the new notes till December 31, 2023.