The two-month-old Naira crisis in Nigeria was finally put an end on Monday when both the Presidency and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, bowed to public pressure.
A few hours after the presidency exonerated itself of responsibility, the central bank gave commercial banks the go-ahead to start accepting the N200, N500, and N1000 old naira notes as lawful cash in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision from March 3.
This occurred roughly 24 hours before the deadline set by certain state governors, after which they threatened to bring contempt proceedings against the CBN and the federation’s attorney general.
In a statement released Monday night, Dr. Isa Abdulmumin, the bank’s acting director of corporate communications, detailed the apex’s judgment.
The statement further stated that the old naira notes would continue to be valid until December 31, 2023.
Only a few hours prior to the CBN’s decision, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria had no justification for defying the Supreme Court’s order over the redesign of the naira.
This was revealed on Monday by Shehu Garba, Buhari’s senior special assistant for media and publicity.
Remember how the top court in Nigeria decided in the first week of March that the old Naira notes may still be accepted until December 31.
After the verdict, the CBN and the federal government remained silent for ten days. Due to the economic uncertainties caused by this circumstance, traders and commercial banks rejected the old notes.
Earlier, Prof Charles Soludo, the governor of Anambra state, posted on his social media accounts that the CBN had ordered commercial banks to accept and dispense old naira notes.
Governor Soludo is not acting alone; the governors of Lagos and other states have also taken action to uphold the legitimacy of the old Naira notes.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu declared on his verified Twitter accounts that commercial banks had been ordered to collect the old naira notes and that defaulters would face penalty.
The Director of the Centre for the Development of Private Business, Dr. Muda Yusuf, commented on the CBN’s decision to order commercial banks to dispense and accept the old naira notes and said that the move would repair Nigeria’s damaged economy.
According to Yusuf, for there to be widespread compliance, the apex bank must make the news of the development known to all Nigerians, even those in rural areas.
“Well, we thank God that eventually, under pressure from Nigerians, they bowed to pressure, but I think we should just leave things behind and go on.
“At this point, it is crucial that the apex bank effectively publicize the fact that the naira notes are legal money.
“Because the old notes are accepted as lawful currency, anyone depositing them should stop requesting codes.
“Things will start to improve as soon as cash keeps flowing; this is also a call to CBN to guarantee that more new currencies are created so that they progressively withdraw the old notes,” the statement reads.
Moreover, Prof. Godwin Oyedokun, a professor of accounting and financial development at Lead City University in Ibadan, stated on Monday night that commercial banks should compensate their clients with interest for the time they were unable to use their funds.
He asserts that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, bowed to pressure regarding the legality of old naira notes as determined by the Supreme Court.
He continued by saying it is terrible for a democratically elected president like Buhari to take this long to act responsibly in response to Nigerians’ suffering.
“The advocacy of every Nigerian and pressure from the Nigerian Labor Congress and Trade Union Congress have paid off. I hoped that this would be put into practice right away to help with the cash crunch.
“Yet, during the time the crisis persisted, Commercial Banks had to pay interest to everyone who was unable to use their money. Due to the naira issue, everyone has money in their accounts but is unable to access it.
“Nigerians should start looking into these topics. However, the circumstance must be regarded as a force majeure. I believe the situation has taught all parties something.
Despite the co-circulation of the old and new notes, I will nonetheless beg Nigerians to exercise extreme caution. The new naira notes must be printed and disseminated in sufficient quantities, therefore more money must be in use. If the old notes are gradually withdrawn while the new ones are not available, the problem can persist.
Dr. Ayo Teriba, CEO of Economic Associates, had earlier stated on Monday that it is now clear that President Muhammadu Buhari is not obstructing the Supreme Court’s decision on the redesign of the naira.
“As long as the issue is settled, it’s not too late. That continues to support some people’s belief that President Muhammadu Buhari would abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
He claimed that it was now clear that Buhari was not getting in the way.
Nigerians hope for a time in the future when the country’s economic problems will be a thing of the past as the Buhari government nears its end in approximately two months.
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