New Naira: Nigerians in Limbo as CBN deadline ends today
By Odunayo Odeja
Bank customers are in a state of confusion and uncertainty over whether today’s deadline by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the phasing out of the old naira notes remains or it has been suspended.
This follows the Supreme Court injunction obtained by some northern governors.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the deadline should be suspended pending the determination of the case brought before it by the governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States.
The court has fixed February 15 to entertain the case.
In reaction to the governor’s suit the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction on the matter.
However, on Thursday, a day before the deadline, commercial banks in the country and bank customers were thrown into confusion as to whether the old N1000, N500 and N200 would cease to be legal tender by Friday (today) or will retain the status pending when Supreme Court will look into the suit brought before it by the governors.
It is worthy of note that the chairman of the Southwest governors forum and governor of Ondo State Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has joined the suit earlier filed by the 3 Northern governors.
Several top bank executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they could not tell whether the Friday deadline would be enforced.
They hinged their argument because the CBN-the banking sector regulator-had yet to give directives to banks.
They also argued that the governors did not join banks in their suit.
Despite the confusion and uncertainty, Nigerians are still facing the pains of the naira scarcity as many queues at various ATM stands and Banking halls to get cash.
Also, cash-strapped Point of Sale operators has shut their businesses while several banks remained shut on Thursday.
Officials said Nigerians might face hard times over shortage of cash in the coming days as the situation worsened.
Some bankers claimed that the CBN had limited the volume of cash it distributed to banks.