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Naira redesign: Banks heed  S’ Court, pay old N500, N1,000 notes

Some commercial banks across the country have started paying out the old N500 and N1,000 notes to their customers. This was in compliance with the March 3, 2023 Supreme Court judgment, which extended the validity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) currency redesign policy to December 31, 2023, Vanguard reports.

Vanguard gathered that the compliance with the Supreme Court’s judgement was partial in nature as some banks have not followed suit, maintaining that they were awaiting official directive from the CBN to do so.

The banks that were issuing the old banknotes to their customers yesterday include Guaranty Trust Bank, GTBank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank and Union Bank.

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Confirming this development, a customer of Access Bank said that he withdrew N20,000 and was paid with the old N500 and N1,000 notes.

However, an official of the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied that the bank had commenced issuing the old notes to customers, as the CBN has not authorised the banks to do so.

Speaking to Vanguard, a staff GTB, who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the development: “Yes, we paid out N500 and N1,000 to customers today (yesterday).”

Another source close to GTB told Vanguard that the bank received an informal approval from the CBN before dispensing the old N500 and N1,000 notes to customers.

However, a top CBN official denied knowledge of any approval or directive whether official or unofficial, authorising banks to issue the old notes. According to the source, the CBN has not received any directive from the Federal Government and hence can’t issue any directive to the banks on the issue.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that old N500 and N1,000 notes should remain legal tender till December 31st 2023.

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Commenting on the development, the President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, AMMBAN, Mr. Olojo Victor, said: “Yes, it is a good omen. We believe that the Supreme Court has indeed proven to be the last hope for the common man.

“The policy wasn’t well thought out even though the intention was good but it further impoverished Nigerians. It made them jobless. It made life difficult and unbearable.

“I hope that the CBN will obey the Supreme Court order to the latter so that life can resume back to normal for Nigerians again.