The Supreme Court has ruled that the old N200, N500, N1000 notes and the new notes will co-exist as legal tender till further notice.
The apex court in a ruling on Wednesday, held that old notes will continue to exist until a process for its replacement or redesign is put in place by the Federal Government after due consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Recall that the apex bank had in October 2022 introduced the redesign of the aforementioned naira denominations, setting certain deadlines for the old designs to cease as legal tenders.
The Supreme Court in March 2023 ordered that the old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 remain legal tender till December 31st, 2023. The apex court also declared that President Buhari’s order on the new naira is invalid, and went further to say that the naira design policy was in contravention of the law.
However, on November 21, 2023, the Federal Government filed an application for the extension of the deadline.
In the application filed by the Attorney-General of the federation, Lateef Fagbemi, the FG said it has 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.
The FG further 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 the year when the naira redesign policy was being implemented under the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Delivering judgement on Wednesday, the seven-man panel of the court led by Inyang Okoro allowed Fagbemi’s application.
Investogist recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier this month said the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes would remain legal tender indefinitely.
“All banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in accordance with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to remain legal tender, ad infinitum, even beyond the initial December 31, 2023, deadline,” the apex bank said in a press release..
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is working with the relevant authorities to vacate the subsisting court ruling on the same subject.
“Accordingly, all CBN branches across the country will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and redesigned, to and from deposit money banks (DMBs).”
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.