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Naira: Supreme Court rules old, new banknotes remain legal tender till further notice

Photo Collage of Old and New N200, N500 and N1000 Banknotes

*The Supreme Court’s seven-man panel, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, has ruled that the old N200, N500, N1000 and new banknotes should remain in circulation as legal tender until further notice, following the Federal Government’s fresh application for extension of validity the old national currency

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the initial deadline  of December 31, 2023, is fast approaches, the Supreme Court of Nigeria Wednesday, November 29, in Abuja, FCT, ruled that the old N200, N500, N1000 notes should continue to co-exist with the redesigned banknotes till further notice.

ConsumerConnect reports the country’s apex court ordered both old and new Naira notes should continue to remain legal tender in the Nigerian economy until the Federal Government put a process in place for its replacement or redesign after due consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Attorney General’s application for extension of timeline

Earlier, Lateef Fagbemi, Attorney-General (AGF), had approached the Supreme Court to extend the validity of the old Naira notes: N200, N500 and N1000 respectively before the expiration of the previous deadline fixed for next month.

The Court’s seven-man panel, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, Wednesday gave the ruling, after an application by the Federal Government seeking asking the court to grant an extension of time for old Naira notes to remain in circulation as a legal tender.

In a unanimous decision the seven-man panel considered and affirmed Fagbemi’s application.

Prior to the ruling for extension of validity of the country’s old national currency notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently stated that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes would remain legal tender indefinitely.

Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, Director of Corporate Communications at CBN, who issued the statement, urged consumers of financial products and services to refrain from hoarding the banknotes in anticipation of the December deadline.

In the fresh appl6to.the Court, the Nigerian Government equally prayed the Supreme Court to lift its earlier order handed down March 3 this year.

The government further noted that the extension of time was necessary as it had not been able to print the volume of new notes that would enable a phase out of the old currency before the December 31 order.

Besides, Fagbemi, in the fresh application stated that the Federal Government explained that should the Supreme Court decline its request to extend the period of circulation of old notes, the country stands the risk of descending into another national, economic and financial crisis, as witnessed in the first quarter of 2023, when the Naira redesign policy was being implemented under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Need for extensive stakeholder engagements

The AGF as well asked the Supreme Court to allow the old notes to be in use with the new notes until after it consults with various stakeholders in the economy.

Fagbemi also noted that the economy again, may experience serious difficulties because some Nigerians had started hoarding the old and new Naira notes ahead of the December 31 timeline.

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