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Banks begin re-circulation of old naira notes

Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria have begun partial compliance with a Supreme Court order, which approved the use of old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes as legal tender for ten months.

The court had ruled that the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy contravened the 1999 Constitution. Commercial banks have started paying customers in the old notes in some branches of Guaranty Trust Bank and United Bank for Africa, while others are still awaiting directives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Although the CBN and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation have yet to comply with the latest order, some banks relied on the Supreme Court ruling to go ahead with paying their customers. However, other banks have refused to pay their customers, stating they are awaiting directives from the CBN on the matter.

Despite the court order, some bank customers have rejected the old notes, fearing that traders might not accept them as legal tender. Meanwhile, customers have complained about the scarcity of old notes in bank ATMs across several branches.

In Lagos, several customers were seen queuing up to collect the old N500 notes from the bank’s cashiers. Some bank officials said they had no cash to give out, while others gave customers tallies to attend to the following day.

In Abuja, banks in the Federal Secretariat area have yet to start paying customers with the old N500 and N1,000 notes following the Supreme Court order. Bank ATMs were not dispensing cash, and motorists continue to reject the old notes despite the court order.

The confusion in the economy has continued to mount despite calls from several quarters, urging the Federal Government to direct the CBN to comply with the court ruling. The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Buhari to immediately obey the Supreme Court’s order.

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