Nigerian central bank allows circulation of old bills
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says old banknotes will remain legal tender until the end of the year in line with a judgement made by the supreme court earlier this month.
Banks have also been directed to comply with the court’s decision that allowed for old and new naira notes to run concurrently until 31 December.
A lack of newly designed naira notes led to a cash shortage in a country where 40% of the population don’t have bank accounts.
Long queues were witnessed at banking halls and cash machines with many unable to access the new banknotes. This led to protests in some parts of the country.
In February, some state governors took the federal government to the court, challenging the implementation of a 10 February deadline to phase out the old notes.
President Buhari on 16 February ordered the central bank to recirculate the old 200 naira notes only until 10 April, insisting the old 500 and 1,000 naira notes were no longer legal tenders.
But the supreme court’s judgement overruled this directive.
On Monday, the presidency denied public sentiments that he had instructed the CBN governor and the attorney-general to disobey the court orders.
“The directive of the President, following the meeting of the Council of State, is that the Bank must make available for circulation all the money that is needed and nothing has happened to change the position,” he said in a statement.
Last October, the central bank redesigned the higher banknotes to combat counterfeiting, cash hoarding and insecurity fuelled by kidnaps for ransom.