Supreme Court Ruling: CBN Says Both Old & New Notes Are Now Legal Tender
The Central Bank Of Nigeria has approved the circulation of old naira notes to customers at their various Banks’ automated teller machines (ATMs) terminals and over the counter.
The development is in compliance with the new directive of the supreme court, extending the validity period of the old notes to the end of the year.
Bank officials on Tuesday stated that the circulation of old notes has been approved by CBN till December 31.
Isa Abdulmumin, CBN spokesperson confirmed the development. He said both the old and new notes are legal tender and banks are currently issuing to customers.
However, he said the CBN was yet to issue an official statement on the matter.
“Banks are paying old notes as well as new notes. They are all legal tender,” he said.
“Yes, the CBN has not issued an official statement on the issue. Anyone banks give to you, you can collect. We just want to make life easy for Nigerians.”
Abdulmumin expressed concern on the continued rejection of the old notes by some traders and transporters.
He said the old notes should not be rejected as they are still a valid means of exchange.
“No. They can’t reject it. It’s all legal tender,” he said.
Checks on Tuesday show that some commercial banks have stated to comply with the court order, despite silence from the CBN and President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was observed that a Zenith Bank branch in Festac Town paid out the old notes to customers over the counter.
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“It has been approved by CBN for circulation till December 31 and that’s why we can dispense to our customers,” a bank official said.
Another bank official said the branch had “received orders to begin dispensing old notes to our customers”.
The ATMs at the branches of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) close to Agege-Pen Cinema Bridge, and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) in the Ikeja area Lagos, were also dispensing the old notes according to reports.
Following the controversy that trailed the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from October last year, several states sought the supreme court’s intervention in extending the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1, 000 notes.
On February 8, the court restrained the CBN from enforcing the February 10 deadline following an ex parte application brought by the states.
It later insisted that the old notes remained legal tender while adjourning the hearing of the case brought against the CBN on the policy on February 15.
The media reported that a seven-member panel of the apex court held that the old N200, N500 and N1000 remain valid legal tender until 31 December 2023.
The supreme court faulted the entire policy of the CBN, saying the timing and implementation were defective.
The apex court held that the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the redesigning and withdrawal of old notes of N200, N500 and N1,000, without consultation with the states, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Council of State and other stakeholders, was unconstitutional.
The apex court observed that no reasonable notice was given before the implementation of the policy as provided under the CBN Act.