Why we’re rejecting old notes despite Supreme Court’s order — Banks

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Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), have said that they are yet to get any memo from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, extending the use of the old Niara notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 till February 15.

A seven-member panel of the Supreme court, last week, issued an order of interim injunction halting the plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to end the use of the old banknotes of N200, N500 and N1,000 by February 10. The court adjourned the hearing of the main case until 15 February

The decision follows a lawsuit filed by the governors of Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara state, who challenged the Naira redesign policy of the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.

However, our correspondents who visited commercial banks in Lagos and Abuja observed that the old notes were rejected by the banks. It was also noted that Supermarkets, filling stations and other institutions, including the High Court in Lagos were not accepting the old notes.

It was gathered that despite the Supreme Court’s order, the CBN has not issued any circular to express its willingness to obey the court or extend the deadline as ordered.

Two top bank officials of First Bank and Unity Bank confided in our correspondent that banks are yet to receive counter directive on the February deadline despite the order from the court. They hinted that the industry is highly regulated and every bank is bound to obey directives from the regulators.

“CBN has not given us a counter directive on the February 10 deadline despite the court ruling. There is no way we are going against our regulator, it will attract major sanctions. If we have a new directive, we would have informed our customers,” noted one of the bank officials.

A top management staff of one of Guaranty Trust Bank, also added that the banks are waiting on the CBN for the next line of action. He said the banks were not parties in the suit filed by the governors so they are waiting for the CBN to issue a directive on the order.

“If you check the CBN website, it is still February 10 deadline. We are in a difficult place so you can’t blame us. And thankfully, you said it is not limited to a particular bank, it is across all banks because we are regulated by the CBN

“Our industry is highly regulated and nobody wants to disrespect the regulator. The last directive asked us to stop collecting the old notes from February 10. Once they issue a new directive, we would adhere,” the source added.