By Marvellous Nyang
After days of keeping mum on the Supreme Court judgement, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that old naira notes, N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
The CBN made its decision known through its Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, in a statement signed and released on Monday, March 13, 2023.
Recalled the Supreme Court had 10 days ago ruled that old naira notes should co-exist with new ones till the end of 2023.
The apex court precisely on March 3, 2023, ordered that old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain valid till December 31, 2023.
CBN said in its statement: “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 statement read.
Recalled 16 states of the Federation had instituted a suit to challenge the legality or otherwise of the introduction of the CBN naira policy.
The 16 states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara prayed to the Supreme Court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
As a result of this, the Supreme Court ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship.
It also stated that the President breached the Constitution of the Federation in the way he issued directives for the re-designing of the Naira by the CBN.
But after the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the AGF did not speak on the issue, and this threw several bank customers and Nigerians into confusion as the ruling of the apex court contradicted the directive of the President on February 16 that old N500 and N1000 notes are banned and old N200 notes remain valid till April 10.
This lingered on with customers besieging banks everyday till Monday, March 3 when the Presidency broke its silence, saying the President never told the CBN and the AGF not to obey the order of the apex court.
“The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” the Presidency said.
It was following this statement that the CBN issued a statement hours later to announce to Nigerians its decision to respect and implement the Supreme Court judgement of March 3, 2023.