By Caroline Ameh

The Senate has again, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately extend the deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes from circulation to July 31, 2023.

The apex bank had, on December 15, commenced circulating newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes and set January 31st, 2023 as deadline for the withdrawal of old notes.

The Red Chamber had in December 2022 directed the CBN to extend the deadline but the resolution was shunned by the apex bank. This has caused panic in many parts of the country as the deadline draws nearer, with thousands, especially those in rural areas storming banks to exchange the old notes with the new ones.

Senators, during debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara) at Tuesday’s plenary, said the new notes were not enough in circulation, warning that if the deadline was not extended, there would be chaos in many parts of the country.

The lawmakers also expressed dismay that the CBN had insisted on the January 31 deadline despite huge public outcry. The Senate, therefore, asked the CBN to extend the deadline by six months to allow Nigerians especially those in rural areas more time to change their old notes.

The Red Chamber also urged the CBN to compel commercial banks to open naira exchange windows for those without bank accounts to exchange their old naira notes. Senate President Ahmad Lawan, assured that the National Assembly leadership would ensure that the resolution is implemented by the CBN.