CBN Mute, Bank Officials Speak as Supreme Court Reverses Validity of Old Naira Notes

CBN Mute, Bank Officials Speak as Supreme Court Reverses Validity of Old Naira Notes

  • Bank officials said they await CBN’s decision on the ruling of the Supreme Court restoring the old naira notes into circulation
  • They said they are not bound by Supreme Court ruling but by the BN's directives
  • CBN, however, is yet to issue a comment on the ruling by Supreme Court

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Nigeria’s Supreme Court has nullified CBN’s directive that ended the legal tenders of the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes.

Reports say The Supreme Court, on Friday, March 3, 2023, nullified the ban on using the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes as legal tenders.

CBN, Supreme Court, banks, new naira notes
Old naira notes to remain valid till Dec 31, says Supreme Court Credit: Maxwell Darko
Source: Getty Images

Supreme Court lambasts FG on new naira notes

In a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, the apex court held that the old banknotes should remain valid legal tenders until December 31, 2023.

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The court that the old Naira notes should be used alongside the redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 notes.

The Supreme Court faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing the demonization policy without consulting the Council of States, the Federal Executive Council, the Civil Society, and other relevant stakeholders.

In the lead judgment that Justice Emmanuel Agim delivered, the apex court accused President Buhari of disobeying its interim order that halted the full implementation of the new monetary policy.

Bank officials react, CBN quiet

However, some top bank officials who spoke to on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the matter stated that the CBN has the ultimate decision.

One of the officials working with Ecobank said they would obey what CBN says, not the Supreme Court.

He stated:

“The financial industry in Nigeria is heavily regulated, and we only listen to what CBN says. Despite the ruling, we still need to hear from our regulator,” he said.

Asked whether the apex bank will obey, he said the CBN reports to the President and that the President has decided on the issue.

He said:

“We all know what the President has said on the matter. The CBN takes its orders from the Presidency. I am sure any action by CBN would be a directive from the President.”

Another banker who does not want his or his bank’s name mentioned said the CBN has the final say.

All efforts by to get the new CBN spokesman, Isa Abdulmumin, to react to the apex court’s ruling proved unsuccessful.

He neither answered calls to his phone nor responded to WhatsApp and text messages.

Banks continue to accept old N500, N1000 notes as the CBN portal for returning old notes remains open earlier reported that Commercial banks had resumed the collection of old naira notes after the presidential election, which draped a lull on the economy.

The move contradicts the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) statement that it did not ask banks to collect the customers' old N500 and N1,000 notes.

The banks still collecting are Guarantee Trust Bank, First Bank, and Sterling Bank.


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