The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made a significant announcement regarding the validity of old Naira notes, assuring Nigerians that there will be no expiry date for the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations. This decision comes as the CBN expresses its commitment to extend the legal tender status of these old Naira notes indefinitely and is actively working to vacate a previous court ruling on the matter.
In an official statement released by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, the apex bank emphasized that this move aligns with international best practices and aims to prevent a recurrence of previous issues.
The statement titled ‘CBN To Allow Old Design Naira Banknotes as Legal Tender, Ad Infinitum’ affirmed that all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, following Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to be considered legal tender without any set expiration date, even beyond the initial December 31, 2023, deadline.
The CBN is actively collaborating with relevant authorities to address the existing court ruling on the naira notes. This means that all CBN branches across Nigeria will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, whether old or redesigned, from deposit money banks.
The CBN urged the general public to continue accepting all Naira banknotes, regardless of their design, for their day-to-day transactions and to handle these banknotes with care to ensure their longevity. Additionally, the public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment and electronic channels for their everyday transactions.
This announcement marks the third statement by the CBN concerning Naira notes in recent times. The CBN clarified earlier this month that there was no shortage of Naira in the country. Subsequently, it declared that all banknotes, including the old ones, remain legal tender and should not be rejected.
The CBN’s decision to address the issue of Naira notes comes after a Supreme Court ruling in March 2023 directed the CBN to allow the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to remain legal tender until December 31, 2023. This followed the CBN’s initial policy to introduce a new Naira design and set expiration dates for these denominations.
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had disclosed plans to redesign certain Naira denominations (N200, N500, and N1,000 notes) as a measure to control currency circulation and combat counterfeiting, as well as reduce ransom payments to kidnappers and terrorists. Initially, the existing old Naira notes were set to retain their legal tender status until January 31, 2023, which was later extended to February 10, 2023.
However, several states, including Zamfara, Kogi, and Kaduna, filed a suit against the Attorney-General of the Federation challenging this policy, and later, other states joined as co-plaintiffs. In March 2023, the Supreme Court invalidated the new Naira design policy due to a lack of due consultation and compliance with constitutional provisions.
With the latest directive from the CBN, Nigerians can now use old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes without any concerns about their expiration, providing much-needed clarity and stability in the nation’s currency system.
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