In defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has insisted that the N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes became illegal tender following the expiration of the February 10 deadline to exchange the banknotes for the so-called redesigned notes.
“No doubt there are pockets of pressure in some areas. The CBN is working hard to shift pressure and resources to those areas in order to ease the tension,” Mr Emefiele claimed. “The situation is substantially calming down since the commencement of over-the-counter payments to complement ATM disbursements and the use of super-agents.”
The CBN governor added, “There is, therefore, no need to consider any shift from the deadline of February 10.”
Mr Emefiele stated this on Tuesday in a meeting with the diplomatic community at the foreign affairs ministry.
Reports across the country indicate that the naira scarcity has worsened, while the CBN governor accused politicians of mopping up the new naira notes from circulation. But Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of Representatives, alleged the scarcity was to cripple the ruling APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu’s chances at the poll.
“The CBN has also noticed that some politicians are buying the new notes and storing them for political purposes,” Mr Emefiele told the diplomatic community.
Explaining the rationale for naira redesign in the meeting, Mr Emefiele said the CBN conducted “extensive in-house analysis and consultation which suggested the need for a policy to redesign some Nigerian banknotes,” stressing that the move has resulted in “inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable.”
“Secondly, we aim to increase financial inclusion in the country by reducing the number of the unbanked population. Thirdly, our aim is to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria through this program, and we can see that the military is making good progress in this important task,” the CBN chief added.
In October, CBN announced the redesign of N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes.