Numerous Nigerians this week faced difficulties making payments for goods and services as dealers, drivers, and business owners refused to accept the old Naira notes in expectancy of an sanctioned approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In multiple interviews with AFLM, Nigerians who got paid the old N500 and N1000 notes by the banks expressed their frustration amid silence from the CBN and the Nigerian government.
Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must extend the use of old notes until 31 December due to the negative impact of the policy.
A seven-member panel of the court, led by John Okoro, unanimously ordered the CBN to continue receiving the old notes from Nigerian citizens.
The court also found that President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the CBN on the withdrawal of old notes and redesign of new notes without proper consultation was invalid.
The CBN, last December introduced new N200, N500, and N1000 notes, which led to the withdrawal of the old notes from rotation. This policy backfired in wide chaos across the country, with protests erupting in various regions as Nigerians faced difficulties doing business and making cash payments in day-to-day transactions.
After the Supreme Court delivered its judgment on the naira policy last Friday, some commercial banks in parts of the country on Monday proceeded the allocation of the old N500 and N1000 notes to their customers. Analysts thought the development would bring relief to numerous Nigerians whose businesses have suffered because of their inadequacy to access cash.
But since the Supreme Court gave its judgment on the case, neither the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nor the Nigerian government has responded to the new development.
The silence of these crucial institutions has left numerous Nigerians confused about the implications of the ruling and how the skepticism could impact the nation’s financial ecosystem.
Despite lamenting the ripple effect of the cash insufficiency on transactions in recent months, AFLM found that dealers across the Abuja metropolis refused to accept the old naira notes from their clients.
Some complained of how they’ve been unable to spend the old notes they had before received because of the Supreme Court ruling.
As of Wednesday, AFLM gathered that apart from dealers and other service providers, grocery stores and filling stations have declined to accept the old notes.
Kennedy Jr, a phone repairer at the Wuse market, told AFLM that he’ll not take the old note until there’s confirmation from the government and other dealers begin to take it.
I’ll not be the first to collect it when I know that it’ll be useless to me. People at Banex (a huge complex where phones and accessories are sold) aren’t collecting it and this is where I get my market from, ”he said.
I can’t risk it, even as banks are giving it, we’re all waiting to hear the go-ahead from the CBN and President Muhammadu Buhari. ”