Emefiele finally bows to pressure, says old naira notes legal tender

Emefiele finally bows to pressure, says old naira notes legal tender
Emefiele finally bows to pressure, says old naira notes legal tender

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday succumb to pressure and ordered commercial banks to comply with the verdict of the Supreme Court which 10 days ago ordered the continued use of old N,1000 and N500 notes as legal tender till December 31, 2023.

Emefiele also announced that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 would remain legal tender till the end of the year.

The development came following a meeting the CBN governor had with the Bankers’ Committee on Sunday.

This has put an end to the confusion over the legality of the old naira notes and would ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians who have faced severe hardships over the scarcity of new naira notes amid the controversial ban on the old notes.

READ MORE: Naira Redesign: Many Nigerians Face Difficulties As Old Naira Notes Are Rejected

CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, made the position known in a statement titled, “Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender – CBN”.
The statement read, “In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the rule of law principle that has characterised the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.

“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”

Earlier on Monday, the Nigerian Bar Association and Nigeria Labour Congress had berated the Federal Government and the CBN for failing to obey the Supreme Court judgment on the old naira notes.

On Sunday, the Arewa Consultative Forum in a statement said Buhari’s failure to obey the Supreme Court would tarnish the reputation of his regime.

The NBA came down hard on the President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for failing to obey the Supreme Court judgment.

The Supreme Court had in its March 3 judgment extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes until December 31.

However, the AGF and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele refused to comply with the order despite pressure from Nigerians. Their actions also encouraged commercial banks to reject the old notes as legal tender.

Worried by the development, state governments involved in the suit threatened to file contempt charges against the two officials on Tuesday (today) should they fail to obey the apex court order.

In the judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court held that Buhari breached the constitution in the manner he issued directives for the naira notes.

The seven-man panel also slammed the President over his February 16 broadcast in which he said only the N200 note should remain legal tender in flagrant violation of the restraining order made by the apex court.

Justice Agim stated, “The rule of law upon which our democratic governance is founded becomes illusory if the President of the country or any authority or person refuses to obey the orders of courts. The disobedience of orders of courts by the President in a constitutional democracy as ours is a sign of the failure of the constitution and that democratic governance has become a mere pretension and is now replaced by autocracy or dictatorship.”

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