After so much dilly dialing, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday approved the use old N200, N500, N1,000 banknotes as legal tender till December 31, 2023.
The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa Abdulmumin in a statement on Monday backpedaled giving approval
“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.
The Supreme Court had extended the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 Naira notes till 31 December.
A seven-member panel of the court led by John Okoro unanimously directed that the CBN must continue to receive the old notes from Nigerians almost ten days ago
This was after 16 states of the Federation instituted a suit to challenge the legality or otherwise of the introduction of the policy.
The 16 states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had prayed the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship, adding 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.
After the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the AGF stood aloof, throwing many 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.
However, the Presidency defended the President that he 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 noted.
The Presidency also said the President is an absolute respecter of the rule of law and that the “negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust