On Monday, both the Presidency and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, finally bowed to pressure to end the two months Naira crisis in the country.
The apex bank, a few hours after the presidency absolved itself of blame, directed commercial banks to henceforth accept the N200, N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender in line with the March 3 ruling of the Supreme Court.
This came about 24 hours to the ultimatum issued by some state governors, after which they would file contempt charges against the CBN and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The apex’s bank decision was contained in a statement issued Monday night by the bank’s acting Director of Corporate Communications, Dr Isa Abdulmumin.
The statement added that the old naira notes are to remain legal tender till December 31 2023.
The CBN’s decision is barely hours after President Muhammadu Buhari clarified that the Central Bank of Nigeria has no excuse to disobey the Supreme Court ruling on the naira redesign.
Shehu Garba, senior special assistant to Buhari on Media and Publicity, disclosed this on Monday.
Recall that in the first week of March, the highest Court in Nigeria ruled on the validity of the old Naira notes’ acceptance till December 31.
However, the CBN and federal government kept mum for ten days after the judgement. This situation created uncertainty in the Nation’s economy, resulting in traders and commercial banks rejecting the old notes.
Earlier, the Governor of Anambra state, Prof Charles Soludo, announced via his social media handles that CBN has directed commercial banks to dispense and accept the old naira notes.
Governor Soludo is not alone; Lagos and other governors have moved to enforce the validity of the old Naira notes.
On his verified Twitter handles, Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated commercial banks had been directed to collect the old naira notes and announced punishment for defaulters.
In a reaction to CBN’s decision directing commercial banks to dispense and accept the old naira notes, the Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, disclosed that the development would restore Nigeria’s broken economy.
Yusuf stated that the apex bank must publicise the development to the hearing of all Nigerians, including those in rural communities, for its compliance to be massive.
“Well, we thank God that eventually, they bowed to pressure after a lot of suffering by Nigerians, but I think we should just leave that and move on.
“What is essential now is for the apex bank to publicise the statement properly on the fact that the naira notes are legal tender.
“If anybody is depositing the old notes, they should stop asking for codes since the currencies are legal tender.
“Things will begin to recover as soon as cash continues to flow; this is also a call to CBN to ensure that more of the new currencies are printed so that they would gradually withdraw the old notes”.
Also, an Accounting and Financial Development don at Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun, on Monday night, said commercial banks should pay their customers interest for the period they could not utilise their money.
According to him, the insistence of many Nigerians have made President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele to bow to pressure on the validity of old naira notes as ruled by the Supreme Court.
He added that it is terrible for a democratically elected President like Buhari to wait this long to do the right thing about the suffering of Nigerians.
“The pressure from the Nigerian Labor Congress, Trade Union Congress, and advocacies of every Nigerian have worked. I hoped this would be implemented immediately to ease the cash crisis.
“However, Commercial Banks needed to pay interest to everybody who could not utilise their money for the period the crisis lingered. Everybody has money in their accounts but can’t access it due to the naira crisis.
“These are the things Nigerians should start exploring. But the situation has to be taken as a force majeure. I hope all parties have learnt from the case.
“I will still implore Nigerians to be very careful despite the co-circulation of the old and new notes. There needs to be more money in circulation because the new naira notes are required to be sufficiently circulated and printed. The issue may continue if the new notes are not still available while the old notes are gradually withdrawn.”
Earlier, Dr Ayo Teriba, CEO of Economic Associates, said on Monday that it is now apparent that President Muhammadu Buhari is not standing in the way of the Supreme Court verdict on the Naira redesign.
“It is not too late as long as the matter is resolved. It goes on to confirm the position of some people that President Muhammadu Buhari would respect the Supreme Court’s order.
“It is now evident that Buhari is not standing in the way,” he said.
With about two months to the end of Buhari’s administration, Nigerians aspire for a future where the nation’s economic woes will be a thing of the past.