Barely three days after the Central Bank of Nigeria declared old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes as legal tender, Deposit Money Banks say they are beginning to run out of the old currencies.
The development led to severe hardship and pain for several bank customers seeking to withdraw funds on Wednesday. The CBN had on Monday directed banks to pay out and accept the old notes from their customers.
This came after President Muhammadu Buhari, said he did not stop the CBN and the Attorney General of the Federation Office from complying with the Supreme Court judgment ordering that old naira notes should remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
However, commercial banks which began the disbursements of old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes to their customers on Tuesday revealed on Wednesday that it had started running out of the old currencies.
This made several bank customers become stranded in banking halls as well as in major cities and towns.
While some bank officials said their stocks of old notes were beginning to run low, others said they had exhausted the old currencies in their vaults.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) led by Godwin Emefiele says the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023.
This online news platform understands that the CBN official statement on the acceptance of Old Naira Notes was announced by the CBN spokesperson, Isa Abdulmumin on Monday evening, March 13, 2023.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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 on the acceptance of Old Naira Notes added.
CBN has finally directed Nigerian Banks to accept Old Naira Notes.
Newsone reports that the governor of Anambra State, southeast Nigeria, and former CBN Governor, Prof Charles Soludo, on Monday, March 13, 2023, confirmed that the Central Bank of Nigeria has asked commercial banks to dispense and accept old naira notes as deposits.
This online news platform understands that Professor Soludo, a former CBN governor, made this known in a statement he posted on his social media handles on Monday, March 13, 2023.
Newsone Nigeria reports that the Anambra Governor explained that the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele gave the directive at a Banker’s Committee meeting on Sunday, March 12, 2023.
Governor Soludo, who revealed that CBN Governor Emefiele personally confirmed the directive to him, called on Anambra residents to report Nigerian banks refusing to accept the old notes.
Nigerian Governor has ordered the arrest of people rejecting Old Naira Notes in his state.
Newsone reports that the Kogi State Government on Friday, March 10, 2023, ordered the arrest and prosecution of individuals and businesses rejecting the old naira notes.
This online news platform understands that the order is contained in a statement by Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, who congratulated Nigerians on the “historic ruling of the Supreme Court”.
Newsone Nigeria had reported earlier that the Supreme court ruled last week that both the old and new naira notes remain legal tenders until December 31, 2023.
Fanwo explained that the Yahaya Bello administration joined other states to pursue the case to ease the hardship occasioned by the unavailability of cash.
The Commissioner for Information said it was unacceptable that some persons and businesses continue to reject the old notes, even after the court validated their use.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said that both old naira notes and new naira notes are now legal tenders. This online news platform understands that the Acting Director of Corporate Communications CBN, Dr. Isa Abdulmumin disclosed this on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
The CBN Director affirmed that commercial banks have started issuing both old and new notes to their customers.
But insisted that the apex bank is yet to issue an official statement.
He said, “Banks are paying old notes as well as new notes. They are all legal tender.
“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.”
In compliance with the March 3 Supreme Court judgment, which extended the validity of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, currency redesign policy to December 31, some banks across the country have started paying out the old N500 and N1,000 notes to their customers.
Findings, however, revealed partial compliance as some banks have not followed suit, maintaining that they are awaiting official directive from CBN to do so.
The banks that were issuing the old banknotes to their customers yesterday include GTBank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank and Union Bank.
Confirming this development, a customer of Access Bank said that he withdrew N20,000 and was paid with the old N500 and N1,000 notes.
However, an official of the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied that the bank had commenced issuing the old notes to customers, as the CBN had not authorised the banks to do so.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria, on Friday, 3 March 2023, ordered that old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes remain in circulation till December 31, 2023.
This online news platform understands that the apex court also nullified the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy, declaring it as an affront to the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, who read the lead judgment, held that the preliminary objections by the defendants (the Attorney General of the Federation, Bayelsa and Edo states) are dismissed as the court has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Citing Section 23(2)1 of the constitution, the court held that the dispute between the Federal Government and states must involve law or facts. The apex court further held that President Muhammadu Buhari in his broadcast admitted that the policy is flawed with a lot of challenges.
The recent economic cash crisis in Nigeria, caused by the naira redesign, political climate, and economic conditions, has increased bitcoin’s value proposition for average Nigerians. In Africa, bitcoin offers an indispensable financial safe haven.
The naira redesign is only the most recent catalyst magnifying the challenges faced by average Nigerians, a benevolent move to curb economic challenges and counterfeiting notes has resulted in a doubling down on the financial pressures faced by Nigerians.
Nigerians are currently facing record-high inflation at ~21%, a cash shortage of the newly redesigned naira notes, and an incoming administration that will determine the country’s course for the next few decades and the continent’s political landscape.
All eyes were on our country as citizens voiced their frustrations at the ballot on Saturday, and our Government continues to wrestle with its growing economic challenges.
The total amount of currency-in-circulation in the country dropped from N3.29tn as of the end of October 2022 to N1.38tn as of the end of January 2023 as a result of the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Figures obtained from the CBN showed this represents a drop of N1.91tn in the three-month period.
The Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Emefiele also announced deadlines for Nigerians to swap their old with the new notes.
The banking sector regulator said, “Accordingly, all Deposit Money Banks currently holding the existing denominations of the currency may begin returning these notes back to the CBN effective immediately. The newly designed currency will be released to the banks in the order of first-come-first-serve basis.
“Customers of banks are enjoined to begin paying into their bank accounts the existing currency to enable them to withdraw the new banknotes once circulation begins.”
He decried the challenges associated with currency management including significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of currency-in-circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks.
Amid the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund has projected that currency outside banking system would hit N4.26tn in 2023.
In its report titled ‘Nigeria: 2022 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Nigeria’, IMF that maintained there would be an increase in the volume of currency outside banks despite CBN’s aggressive effort to bring in more cash into the banking system and out of the hands of the public.
The report stated that the money outside of the banking system would be up from N2.94tn in 2021 to N7.66tn by 2027.
It was also projected that the money outside bank would be N3.54tn in 2022, N5.1tn in 2024, N6.08tn in 2025 and N6.99tn in 2027.
The Federal Government said yesterday it was not in breach of the Supreme Court order restraining it from enforcing the February 10 time limit for the validity of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami gave the government’s position during a weekly ministerial briefing in Abuja.
Also yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila and Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu restated their displeasure with the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) naira redesign policy and fuel scarcity in the country.
While Gbajabiamila described naira and fuel scarcities as a “rigging” plot against the All Progressives Congress(APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Tinubu, Akeredolu called on voters to brace the hardship caused them by the shortages and cast their votes for the former Lagos State governor tomorrow.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 16, 2023, directed the CBN to re-circulate the old N200 notes, thereby extending its validity till April 10.
This was in spite of the Supreme Court order that the three old denominations (N1,000, N500 and N200 ) should remain legal till it delivers judgment in the case filed by some states against the Federal Government. The verdict will be given on March 3.
The President’s broadcast and express exclusion of the N500 and N1,000 notes had since been flayed by the public and Senior Advocates of Nigeria(SANs).
Asked to comment on the alleged flouting of the Supreme Court order by the President, Malami said: “Your question can best be answered within the context of what constitutes a rule of law in the Nigerian situation.
“Where an order is made by a court, you have multiple options, but let me state before even addressing the issue of the options available at our disposal as a government.
“The fact is that we are not in breach of any order made by the court, inclusive of any order associated with the naira redesign. We are not in breach.
“I’m not a banker, but you have not gone to establish which bank is it that you have gone to present N1000 or N500 notes that have been rejected. So we are not in breach.
“But then, assuming we are in breach, the fact remains that this matter is sub-judice, as you rightly know. It’s being contested before the Supreme Court and when an order is made, you have multiple options within the context of the rule of law.
“One, you are entitled as a matter of right, if the facts and evidence support your position, to apply for setting it aside.
“The position of the law, legal jurisprudence is clear, once you are attacking and you seeking for a setting aside of an existing order of the court, cannot be said to be operating in breach when you presented your application for setting aside.
“If the court is not an apex court, you equally have a right of appeal and support the right of appeal with an application for a stay, of execution order. So the bottom line of what I’m trying to state is if the matter is sub-judice and within the context of the rule of law, we are doing the needful as a government, in terms of ensuring that the right of the government, within the context of the naira redesign, is protected.”
The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned judgment in the new naira policy suit to March 3, 2023.
With the apex court’s decision, Nigerians, especially consumer and business groups as well as professional and trade unions looking up to the apex court for a favorable judgment (today) that they expect will ameliorate their suffering, will have to wait.
The Supreme Court had on February 8 restrained the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline for swapping the old naira notes with new ones, but the Central Bank of Nigeria refused to shift the deadline.
The injunction was a sequel to a suit filed by Zamfara, Kogi, and Kaduna state governments against the Attorney-General of the Federation on February 3.
Other states including Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Kano, Sokoto, Ogun, and Cross River have also joined the suit as co-plaintiffs.
While taking arguments on Wednesday, counsel for the Federal Government, Kanu Agabi, said the Supreme Court held that all reliefs are rooted in section 20 of the CBN Act.
He argued that the apex court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit as the action cannot commence with an Originating Summons.
He also contended that the plaintiffs did not deem it fit the CBN to court as a respondent despite making reference to the apex bank 32 times in their originating summons and despite the fact that seven of the reliefs sought to relate to the CBN.
He asserted that Nigerians were already turning down the old notes way the President’s directive.
Agabi also asserted that by asking Nigerians to deposit their old naira at the CBN designated centres, the president was abiding by the court order and that Buhari is empowered under the constitution to veto any legislation.
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, said it would not allow the Federal and states governments turn the Judiciary to a scapegoat in the legal dispute that is currently trailing the ban on use of the N200, N500 and N1,000 old banknotes as valid legal tenders.
Justice Inyang Okoro, who is heading a seven-man panel of the apex court, made the declaration while consolidating various suits that different states filed to halt the full implementation of the Naira swap policy that was recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The court had, shortly before it stood down its proceedings to allow all the states it joined as interested parties in the matter to regularise their processes, bemoaned the fact that the dispute had placed the judiciary in the eye of the storm.
The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), had before the court went on 10 minutes break, drew attention to the fact that it had yet to receive any process from the Federal Government, in respect of the case.
Onigbanjo noted that with the development, the planned hearing of the consolidated suits of the states may be hampered.
However, Onigbanjo could conclude his submission, the apex court panel restated its resolve to ensure that the matter was expeditiously heard and determined.
“We want to make it very clear that we are going to hear this matter today because we don’t want a situation where the judiciary will be made a scapegoat.
“With the way this matter is going, they want to make the judiciary a scapegoat but we can’t allow that.
“We are going to hear everything and take our decision. If you have a contempt proceeding, we will also hear it today,” leader of the panel, Justice Okoro stated.
The implementation of the Naira redesign and withdrawal of old banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has sucked in about N1.81 trillion from the Currency Outside Banks, CoB, while crashing Currency-in-Circulation to N1.4 trillion in January 2023.
Though this development is in line with the policy plan of the apex bank, financial experts have, however, indicated that the development may lead to a further rise in inflation and contraction of the nation’s economy in the first quarter of the year, Q1’23.
Old N500, and N1,000 expired on February 10 —CBN
Meanwhile, the CBN said that the old N500 and N1,000 expired as legal tenders on February 10, urging Nigerians to redeem their stock of old notes at its offices.
Speaking to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, a CBN source said: “In line with Sections 20(3) of the CBN act , the CBN is meant to ensure that those who have old notes but didn’t have the opportunity to deposit them into their banks before February 10, 2023, are able to redeem their stock of the old notes at the CBN for value. Anyone who wishes to do so, has only one / singular opportunity to do so at the CBN after the notes have lost their legal tender status on February 10, 2023. No person is allowed to redeem his/ her notes more than once.
“This is what the CBN is trying to do. To redeem your old notes, you are meant to complete a form on CBN website where you get a CBN code to redeem your old notes. To reduce the crowd at the CBN, it mandated the banks to collect sums below N500,000. As far as CBN is concerned, the old N500 and N1,000 have since expired after February 10 and cannot be accepted as means of exchange for goods and services.”
Again, protest has erupted in Ogun State over the naira scarcity, with videos online showing two banks set on fire in the Sagamu area of the state.
The videos shared on Monday showed many residents watching as Keystone and Union banks were set ablaze with some youths holding planks in protest.
On Friday last week, Newsone Nigeria had reported how protest erupted in the Mowe-Ibafo area of Ogun State, with many residents blocking the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in protest of the woes and hardship caused by the lingering scarcity of the naira.
Reacting to the development, a Twitter user, @arranowanna wrote, “Kindly advise your friends, families and acquaintances to avoid any protests. Take your frustration to the ballots on Saturday. Don’t burn banks, don’t burn petrol stations, don’t burn government properties.”
Another user, @morningstar_305 wrote, “I just put a call through to the house and it was confirmed to me that keystone bank and union bank at ijoku has been set ablaze by angry citizens.”
While popular tweep, Pooja, wrote, “If you are in Sagamu, be careful cos there is a protest on new naira notes.”
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, has knocked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, over his (Atiku’s) stance on the naira crisis ravaging the country.
Sowore said Atiku was an opportunist who thought he could capitalise on the “poverty-inducing” naira redesign policy to win the presidential election.
The publisher of Sahara Reporters stated this in a tweet posted to his Twitter handle on Monday morning.
Sowore alleged that the naira redesign policy was “fraud” targeted at hurting “poor Nigerians.”
“Opportunistic @atiku thought he could capitalise on the poverty-inducing Naira Design to win election. Any real leader would have known that ‘naira design’ fraud was gonna […] hurt poor Nigerians. Reason I keep saying there is no difference. He’s coming to sell everything,” Sowore tweeted.
March 22, 2023 at 6:47 pm
Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.