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CBN breaks silence on Supreme Court order, accepts December 31 deadline for old naira notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria has finally broken its silence on the controversy surrounding the naira redesign policy as it said that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.

This disclosure is contained in a statement issued on Monday by the CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, who said that the directive was given at the Bnakers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday.

This is coming nearly over a week after the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to accept the old naira notes as a legal tender until December 31, 2023.

What the CBN is saying

The statement from CBN reads,

  • 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 press statement is coming after President Buhari issued a statement stating that he was not disobeying the supreme court order even though he stopped short of directing the CBN to issue a statement.

The only reference made to the CBN in the statement from the presidency read as follows;

  • “At no time did he instruct the Attorney General and the CBN Governor to disobey any court orders involving the government and other parties. Since the President was sworn into office in 2015, he has never directed anybody to defy court orders, in the strong belief that we can’t practise democracy without the rule of law.”
  • “The President is not a micromanager and will not stop the AG & CBN Gov from performing details of their duties in accordance with the law. It is debatable at this time if there is proof of willful denial by the two of them, of the orders of the apex Court.”

It appears the central bank must have seen the president’s statement as a call to action triggering this statement.

Despite the statement from the central bank, it failed to address the issue of the cash withdrawal limits which Nairametrics addressed extensively in this article.

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