The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has clarified its position on the legal tender status of the old series of the N1,000, N500, and N200 banknotes after the February 10, 2023, deadline for depositing the affected banknotes.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, explained that the old notes would cease to be legal tender after February 10, 2023, and can no longer be used for any form of transaction afterwards.
However, he stated that in line with the provision of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act, Nigerians would have the opportunity to redeem the face value of the Naira only at the Central Bank, after the currency had lost its legal tender status, subject to meeting certain conditions.
Reiterating the pledge of the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at the meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Nwanisobi said Nigerians would not lose their money, even as he urged citizens to take advantage of the extended deadline of February 10, 2023 to deposit the old banknotes currently in their possession at their banks or through mobile money agents.
Citing instances in other climes, Nwanisobi explained that banknotes that cease to be legal tender are only redeemable by the monetary authorities of such jurisdictions upon demand subject to conditions /processes as may be prescribed by that Central Bank.
Nwanisobi also used this opportunity to encourage Nigerians to adopt other payment channels for their transactions, saying that Nigeria’s payment system is robust enough and ranks amongst the first in the world.
Meanwhile, the CBN Governor, Mr. Emefiele appearing before the House of Representatives said he’s worried that the new naira notes have found their ways into parties but not available to ordinary Nigerians adding that the commercial banks breached terms of engagement.
He said the CBN is working with Anti-Corruption agencies to forestall further misbehaviour by the banks.
He said, the CBN has have re-enforced it’s resolve to involve all the security and anti-corruption agencies to wade in and arrest saboteurs.
He acknowledged that, although some Nigerians may be affected by the bottlenecks, but things will get better as time goes and more stringent measures are being taken.
He however informed that, the apex bank has deployed 30,000 agents to attend to Nigerians that are disadvantaged because of their locations and nature of businesses to have access to the currency swap.
In a related development, in continuation of compliance exercise of Naira Redesign Policy, CBN in collaboration with EFCC visited some Deposit Money Banks and public spaces to investigate and ascertain level of compliance.
The joint task for led by Dr. Abubakar Abdullahi Kure, a CBN Director and MD NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, responded to a secret information of racketeering of the new naira notes around some banks in Garki area 3 and 7, Abuja. Three people were arrested in connection with the sales of the new notes.
The Team Lead said they will continue to monitor and take necessary action to deal with persons or groups involved in the racketeering.