Nigerian banks obey court order, begin to pay old Naira notes


Several commercial banks in the country have begun partial compliance with the Supreme Court order approving the use of old N1,000 and N500 and N200 notes as legal tender for 10 months.

The Supreme Court had, last week ordered that the old naira notes should be allowed in circulation along with the new notes until December 31, 2023.

The court had said the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy contravened the 1999 Constitution.

NigerianEye's findings however, revealed partial compliance as some banks have not followed suit, maintaining that they are awaiting official directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to do so.  

The banks that were issuing the old banknotes to their customers yesterday include Guaranty Trust Bank, GTBank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank and Union Bank.

Confirming this development, a customer of Access Bank said that he withdrew N20,000 and was paid with the old N500 and N1,000 notes.

However, an official of the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity denied that the bank has commenced  issuing the old notes to customers, as the CBN has not authorised the banks to do so.  

Speaking to NigerianEye, a staff GTB, who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the development: “Yes, we paid out N500 and N1,000 to customers today (yesterday).”

Another source close to GTB told NigerianEye that the bank received an informal approval from the CBN before dispensing the old N500 and N1,000 notes to customers.

However, a top CBN official denied knowledge of any approval or directive whether official or unofficial, authorising banks to issue the old notes. According to the source, the CBN has not received any directive from the Federal Government and hence can’t issue any directive to the banks on the issue.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that old N500 and N1,000 notes should remain legal tender till December 31st 2023.  

Commenting on the development, the President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, AMMBAN, Mr Olojo Victor, said: “Yes it is a good omen. We believe that the Supreme Court has indeed proven to be the last hope for the common man. 

“The policy wasn’t well thought out even though the intention was good but it further impoverished Nigerians. It made them jobless. It made life difficult and unbearable.  

“I hope that the CBN will obey the Supreme Court order to the latter so that life can resume back to normal for Nigerians again.  

“As an association, it is a welcomed development and we thank the Supreme court for not letting the hope of the common man down. We thank the Supreme Court for upholding justice and we hope that the CBN in future engagement will put in place proper mechanisms in carrying out its policies that affect Nigerians like this.”

On his part, the President, Association of Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka welcomed the development saying: “We didn’t expect less. It is therefore a welcome development.”

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