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Old Naira Notes Remain Legal Tender – CBN

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  • Lagos, Instructs Businesses to Accept Old Notes

CEM REPORT, FINANCE | After a long silence on the supreme court order regarding the legal status of the old notes (N500, and N1,000), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally addressed the issue.

The CBN has hence directed Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria to comply with the Supreme Court judgement of March 3, 2023.

Coming 10 days after this implies that the Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.


In a press release dated March 13, 2023, and signed by the regulator Ag. Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin the apex bank notes that the old notes should be circulated alongside the newly redesigned notes.

The circular seen by CEM stated that the decision was taken alongside the Bankers’ Committee.

It reads;

“In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court judgement of March 3, 2023.

“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.

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

With the success recorded in electronic transactions resulting from the scarcity of the naira, the questions experts will be seeking to answer will be the impact of the legitimatization of the old notes to the further embrace of cashless transactions.

Many Nigerians who still require cash to perform daily activities queue at banks as early as 4 am, sadly many go home late in the evening without getting a kobo. The question in their hearts to the CBN is why it took so long to direct banks to comply with the court order which would have dampened their pain.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government have advised and threatened Lagosians on the acceptance of the old notes.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a press release seen by CEM, directed businesses in Lagos to accept the old note while noting that sanctions await any business which does not.

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He further called on Lagosians to report any bank branch who do not comply with the regulation assuring that such a branch will be shut down.

“I discussed with top officials in CBN who assured me that commercial banks were directed to accept the old N500 and N1,000 notes as deposits and pay them out for withdrawals. They informed me that commercial banks got the directive at a Bankers Committee meeting on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

“1, therefore, urge you to go ahead and have transactions with the old notes. Lagosians should feel free to use the old notes for commercial purposes. Retailers, transporters, traders and all businesses must not reject them as they remain legal tender, following the Supreme Court verdict, which extends the validity of the notes to December 31, 2023.

“Any business that fails to collect the notes will be heavily sanctioned. I, therefore, advise Lagos residents to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200: N500; and N1,000) as well as the new notes.

“If any bank refuses to accept deposits of old notes, please lodge a complaint. The Lagos State Government will report the bank to the CBN and immediately shut down the offending branch.”

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