A week after the Supreme Court ordered the Nigerian government to allow the continued use of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, President Muhammadu Buhari has countered that order.
The Nigerian leader, in a national broadcast Thursday morning, admitted ‘difficulties’ that the new currency policy is causing Nigerians, but only approved the continued use of N200 notes as a legal tender across Nigeria.
The old N200 will exist alongside the new N200 notes, he said, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will continue to mop up the old N500 and N1,000 still in the hands of Nigerians.
“To further ease the supply pressures particularly to our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023, to April 10, 2023, when the old N200 notes cease to be legal tender,” Mr Buhari said.
“In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points.”
The initial deadline to phase out the old notes was Friday, 10 February.
The Supreme Court had last week given an interim order for the continued use of all the old notes until it finally rules on a lawsuit brought by three northern states challenging the new currency redesign.
In its sitting on Wednesday, the Supreme Court did not reverse that order, but the court adjourned the suit to 22 February.
Despite acknowledging the supreme court interim ruling in his Thursday broadcast, Mr Buhari insisted that the old note ceased to be a legal tender.
“As an administration that respects the rule of law, I have also noted that the subject matter is before the courts of our land and some pronouncements have been made,” he said.
The president said during the past two weeks he had listened to invaluable pieces of advice from well-meaning citizens and institutions across the nation.
“I similarly consulted widely with representatives of the State Governors as well as the Council of State,” the president said.
Last Friday, the council of state advised on the need for aggressive action on the part of the central bank as it relates to the implementation of the new naira policy. The council said that the CBN should urgently make more new notes available or recirculate the old notes.
Parts of Nigeria have descended into chaos in recent weeks, with long queues at ATM points and fights breaking out inside commercial banks as customers demanded access to their own money.
Violent protests have been recorded in Ogun, Oyo, Edo and Akwa Ibom in the country’s south, and social media is awash with lamentations of suffering Nigerians who are not able to access their funds for transactions.
The president said Thursday that he “sympathises” with citizens over the difficulties being experienced in the implementation of new monetary policies. However, he also blamed “unscrupulous” officials in the banking industry for being “inefficient”.
“To stem this tide, I have directed the CBN to deploy all legitimate resources and legal means to ensure that our citizens are adequately educated on the policy; enjoy easy access to cash withdrawal through the availability of appropriate amounts of currency; and ability to make deposits.” Mr Buhari said
“I have similarly directed that the CBN should intensify collaboration with anti-corruption agencies, to ensure that any institution or person(s) found to have impeded or sabotaged the implementation should be made to bear the full weight of the law.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999