The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that the old Naira Notes of N200, N500 and N1000 have ceased to be legal tender in Nigeria since the 10th of February, 2023.
The declaration was made by the Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bauchi, Haladu Idris Andaza while briefing Journalists at the CBN branch.
He said that “In the last 24 hours, we have been inundated by questions from various angles of the general public about our operational guidelines on the old currency notes, be that as it may, there are so many questions here and there which people have been asking about.”
According to him, “So for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that CBN is ready and is opened to receive all of those old notes based on certain conditions and criteria.”
“Customers are free to come to the Bank and deposit which they cannot do at the Commercial Banks anymore because the currency has seized to be a legal tender since the 10th of this month.
The customer has to go to the CBN portal and fill a form in the portal, there will be a form there concerning this currency redesign and exchange.”
Andaza further explained that “After filling the form, you generate a code, you either print it or come with it in your mobile phone, give us the code and the information contained therein. In the form, you are expected to provide all the basic information about yourself, your account details and the amount you want to deposit.
By the time you have done it correctly, you come to the CBN where the code will be accepted from you as well as the money, process and confirm the genuineness or otherwise of the money to avoid receiving fake notes because there are some fake notes in circulation now.”
He warned that “If anyone wants to try us by bringing in fake notes, he should be ready to be arrested, so don’t go and print old fake naira notes and bring them to the CBN, whatever happens to you, don’t blame us, you caused it.”
He however assured that “We will receive the money from you and do our internal checks before we give you an acknowledgement which is evidence to show that we have collected that amount from you and we go ahead with our internal processes, after finishing with the internal processes, we now hit your account and credit it through your Commercial bank.
“All the Commercial banks are expected to bring all old notes deposited to us and we will collect, that is the final. Some of the Banks have started depositing with us because they want to close their books, as soon as they do that, they will not collect from customers again, that is the reason CBN decided to open this portal for the general public especially the vulnerable who are still having problems of cash used for trading and now that the deadline has expired, they need to deposit their money.
“The CBN is trying to minimize risk involved in losing that money, we are trying to minimize hardship also, we know that people are having some hardship, people are suffering, we not unmindful of that fact, that why the management of the CBN has magnanimously decided to open that portal to assist those who were unable to deposit the money into their bank accounts, that is our process flow in a nutshell.
“The portal will be there, opened for some time, depending on the circumstances and the directives from the management, we expect that within this period, people should have been able to deposit all they have, it is a privilege given to Nigerians to ensure that they deposited that money even though they are no longer legal tender.
“For the people in the remote areas, if you can recollect, we have gone round virtually all the villages in Bauchi state with some commercial banks asking the people to open accounts which many of them did and were able to deposit their money, I doubt if there are still people who have not keyed into the system now who are still having old money.
“We used the media, NOA and Traditional rulers just to let the people know, no limit to the amount that can be deposited provided the form was properly filled.
“There are a lot of firewalls that can protect the people accessing the portal, no any cause for alarm.”
In his remarks, CBN Team Lead, Bauchi who is the Director, Medical Services of the Apex Bank, Dr Abdulkadir Jibril explained that “It is a point we have made before, I just want to emphasize it, not everybody in Bauchi state is privileged to be at this meeting and so, there is the moral and professional responsibility on their shoulders to ensure that this information gets to every nook and cranny of the state and even beyond.”
He emphasized that “There is a limited time that has been given by the government and the law, just as I have emphasized earlier on, it is the magnanimity of the government, so, this is just an additional time and opportunity to assist people to get their monies into their bank accounts safely so that nobody misses a dime or loses any money.”
Jibrin concluded saying, “I am appealing to our people both men and women to carry or propagate this message everywhere so that people can do the needful.”
DAILY GIST reported that the Supreme Court had in a ruling suspended the CBN deadline for demonetisation policy and fixed February 15 for hearing on the matter.
A seven-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice John Okoro, had temporarily restrained the federal government from restricting the use of the old naira notes after February 10 pending the hearing of the suit.
The ex-parte application was filed by the governors of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara states, citing the negative effects the policy is having on the residents.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami stated that the federal government, out of its regard for the rule of law, would abide by the order of the apex court, even though it intended to challenge it and would do so within the provisions of the law.
He said: “The order was granted by the supreme court and the order is to lapse on Wednesday(February 15th) which is the day of the hearing. With that position in mind, we have taken steps to file an objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter,” he said.
According to Malami, the federal government has filed reasons before the Supreme Court as to why the suit by three states challenging the February 10 deadline fixed by the CBN for phasing out the old N1, 000, N500, and N200 banknotes should be struck out.
The inability to get the new notes has led to protests in some parts of the country with angry Nigerians vandalizing ATMs and banks.
Nigerians continue to face hardship as the effect of the cash crunch and fuel crisis bites harder amid rising tension.