After weeks of disobedience to a Supreme Court ruling on old naira notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday finally bowed to pressure and directed commercial banks and other concerned institutions in the country to accept old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes as legal tender.

The Supreme Court had, following a suit instituted against the CBN and the Federal Government over the naira redesign policy by the governments of Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi States and later joined by a number of other states, extended the use of the old banknotes beyond the February 10 deadline fixed by the CBN. In a final judgment on the matter, the apex had ruled that the old notes would coexist with the redesigned banknotes up until December 31, 2023.

Both the Federal Government and the CBN had, however, kept mute on the Supreme Court ruling, leaving Nigerians in confusion over the status of the old notes.

But the CBN, in a statement by its acting director in charge of corporate communications, Dr Isa AbdulMumin, directed commercial banks and other concerned institutions in the country to accept the old notes.

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In the statement made available to our correspondent on Monday night, AbdulMumin said in compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the rule of law principle that characterised the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the CBN, as a regulator, “Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court judgement of
March 3, 2023”.

He said the decision was reached after the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and directed that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.

“Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly,” the statement said.

The CBN and the Federal Government had been severally criticised for defying the court order and failing to allow the commercial banks to accept the old notes, while also not making the new notes available for cash transactions.