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Nigerian banks pay consumers old N500, N1,000 notes

*Some commercial banks, especially Kano City and Abuja, FCT, have reportedly commenced paying the old N500 and N1000 notes to their customers

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent Supreme Court judgment extending the validity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) currency redesign policy to December 31, 2023, some Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have started paying out the old notes.

ConsumerConnect gathered that some commercial banks, especially Kano City and Abuja, FCT, had commenced paying the old N500 and N1000 notes to their customers.

As some branches of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) issued out old notes, others like Polaris Bank Limited, in Abuja, had not commenced payments with old banknotes Monday, March 6, Daily Trust report said.

A member of staff of the commercial bank reportedly noted that only the old N200 notes were still being issued, “as we do not have any new directive on what to do yet.”

However, sources at GTBank said they had received a directive from their Management to begin paying old notes in their vault, report stated.

“The problem is that taking the old notes from customers will require the CBN form as we don’t have any directive in that regard,” said a source.

Still, reporters Monday, March 6 were unable to confirm if the CBN had officially issued a bank-wide circular, instructing the Deposit Money Banks to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling as of time filing report.

Meanwhile, economic experts have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, to obey the apex appellate court’s judgment on the validity of the old Naira notes.

Paul Alake, an economist,  was quoted to have said there needs to be more clarity on how the old N500 and N1000 notes woul return into circulation  in the Nigerian economy.

Alake said the judgment would not be impactful, if the old notes were not released by the CBN back into the banking system.

He stated: “If the money is not released in the financial sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the judgment may not have any effect.”

It is recalled the Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgement by a seven-member panel of Justices headed by Justice Inyang Okoro,  Friday, March 3 held that  President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the currency  redesign and withdrawal of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes without consultation with the states, Federal Executive Council (FEC), National Council of State, and other stakeholders, was unconstitutional.

The Court observed that no reasonable notice was given before the implementation of the policy as provided under the CBN Act 2007.

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