The Central Bank of Nigeria has noted once again that the January 31 deadline again for validity of the old 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes is still in effect.
This comes as calls from various quarters pleading and demanding that the apex bank change course and extend the deadline to give Nigerians more time to return their old notes to deposit money banks, also known as commercial banks.
But, defying pressure, the apex bank insisted on Saturday evening, via its verified Twitter page, that the January 31, 2023 deadline remains.
Reposting a video of CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele from the recently concluded Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the central bank stated, “The deadline for the return of old series of 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes remains January 31, 2023.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for those who feel we should move the deadline, my apologies,” Emefiele said in the video.
“The reason is because, just like the president has said more than two occasions and even to some people privately, 100 days is more than enough for anybody who has the old currency to deposit it in the banks. And we took every precaution to ensure that all banks were open for business and continue to accept deposits.”
Many Nigerians have continued to criticize the unavailability and scarcity of the new notes, claiming that banks are still giving out old naira notes to customers, with ATMs still dispensing old notes despite the fact that the deadline is only three days away.
The House of Representatives and Senate both asked the apex bank to extend the deadline by six months, until July 31, 2023.
Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), stated on Saturday that the naira redesign is intended to target corrupt individuals and terror financiers hoarding illicit funds rather than innocent citizens.
On October 26, 2022, the CBN announced its intention to redesign the three banknotes. On November 23, 2022, the president unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, while the apex bank set a January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.