Old naira notes not legal tender after Feb 10, CBN clarifies 

From Uche Usim, Abuja 

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday, reassured anxious  public that no Nigerian will lose funds under the Naira redesign project, as the initiative was being implemented  with Nigeria and Nigerians’ in mind.

Mr. Emefiele gave the assurance during a meeting with the ad-hoc committee on the review of its cashless policy and extension of timeline of the currency swap programme.

According to him, riding on the provision of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act, Nigerians would be given the opportunity to redeem the face value of currency in their possession after it loses its legal tender status on February 10, 2023, deadline only at the CBN. 

“Nigerians will not lose their money,” he declared, just as he sought the cooperation of the National Assembly to ensure the success of the programme. 

While reeling out the steps taken by the apex bank to ensure the effective distribution of the new banknotes, the CBN bossdisclosed that about N1.9 trillion had so far been returned  to the banking system since the commencement of the exercise.

Emefiele noted that the naira redesign policy had so far recorded about a 75 per cent success rate given the fact that many of those in the rural and underserved locations across the 36 states of the country have had the opportunity of swapping their old banknotes for the new series of banknotes. 

The CBN Governor, who was accompanied to the meeting by all the four deputy governors at the bank, disclosed that the CBN had deployed about 30,000 super agents to work with the its staff currently in the hinterland to ensure that underserved and vulnerable members of the society are adequately catered for. 

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The CBN Governor also disclosed that the bank was working closely with relevant agencies of the Federal Government to ensure full compliance with the guidelines issued to deposit money bank for the seamless distribution of the new banknotes.

Earlier, Chairman of the Special Ad-hoc committee, Mr Ado Doguwa, expressed the support of the House of Representatives for the cashless policy, stressing that the House would assist the CBN in achieving its mandate in that regard. 

Dogowa welcomed the submission of the CBN Governor and stressed the need for more collaboration.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday, clarified that all old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations will lose their legal tender status by February 10, calling on those giving misleading interpretations to desist forthwith.

Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, explained that the old notes would cease to be legal tender after February 10, 2023, and can no longer be used for any form of transaction afterwards.

However, he stated 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.

Reiterating the pledge of the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at the meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee on Tuesday, Nwanisobi said Nigerians would not lose their money, even as he urged citizens to take advantage of the extended deadline of February 10, 2023 to deposit the old banknotes currently in their possession at their banks or through mobile money agents.  Citing instances in other countries, Nwanisobi explained that banknotes that cease to be legal tender are only redeemable by the monetary authorities of such jurisdictions upon demand subject to conditions /processes as may be prescribed by that Central Bank.

Nwanisobi also used this opportunity to encourage Nigerians to adopt other payment channels for their transactions, saying that Nigeria’s payment system is robust enough and ranks amongst the first in the world.