By Kayode Oyero
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has clarified the position of the apex bank chief, Godwin Emefiele, that old N200, N500 and N1,000 will be accepted after the February 10, 2023, fresh deadline.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, the Director of the Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, explained that the old notes would cease to be legal tender after the February 10, 2023, and can no longer be used for any form of transaction afterward.
Nwanisobi said after the deadline, Nigerians will be able to redeem the face value of the Naira only at the CBN and not at commercial banks. He also added that the acceptance will be subject to meeting certain conditions.
The apex bank’s spokesman emphasised that in line with the provision of Section 20 (3) of the CBN Act, Nigerians would have the opportunity to “redeem the face value of the Naira only at the Central Bank after the currency had lost its legal tender status, subject to meeting certain conditions”.
The duration for the acceptance of the old notes after the expiration of the deadline was, however, not stated.
Citing instances in other climes, Nwanisobi explained that banknotes that cease to be legal tender are only redeemable by the monetary authorities of such jurisdiction upon demand subject to conditions and processes as may be prescribed by that Central Bank.
Earlier on Tuesday, Emefiele appeared before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on naira swap months after the invitation by lower chamber and days after the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila threatened to issue an arrest warrant on the apex bank chief.
The CBN chief told the committee that the old notes would be accepted after the February 10 deadline.
The CBN had on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
The CBN also pegged its weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.
Many Nigerians have lamented the scarcity of new notes as the January 31 deadline approached while the National Assembly demanded a six-month extension.
However, emerging from a meeting with the President on Sunday, the apex bank chief said Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10.
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