The Nigerian Bar Association has said that the law allows Nigerians to redeem their old naira notes at the Central Bank of Nigeria even after the January 31 deadline set by the apex bank for such activity.
Report stated that the Federal Government unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes on November 23, 2022, after which the CBN set a deadline of January 31 for the swapping of the old notes for the redesigned ones.
As the deadline approaches, many Nigerians have been lamenting the hardship as a result of the unavailability of the new notes even when they visit banks to swap the old notes and also Automated Teller Machines to withdraw cash.
The NBA, in a letter signed by its President, Yakubu Maikyau, and addressed to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, called for an urgent review of the policy. This was disclosed in a statement signed by the NBA National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal, on Saturday.
While lauding the demonetisation policy of the CBN as one with the potential to stem corruption, votes buying and other criminal activities, the NBA President noted that “the necessary logistical, infrastructural and manpower support required for the successful implementation of the policy are in short supply and should be greatly improved upon if they are to be leveraged for full implementation of the policy with minimal loss or economic hardship.”
In the letter, the NBA President expressed the concerns that there was no information in the public domain as to what would happen to the old currency in possession of Nigerians by or after January 31 even as the law was clear on this issue.
Quoting the provisions of Section 20 (3) of the CBN Act which provides that “notwithstanding Sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section, the bank shall have power, if directed to do so by the President and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this sub-section, shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be legal tender, but, subject to section 22 of this Act, shall be redeemed by the Bank upon demand.”
Maikyau noted that “any person who shall be in possession of the old notes which have ceased to be legal tender by January 31, 2023 is at liberty to approach the CBN and demand for the redemption of the notes and the CBN is under statutory obligation to “redeem” the notes.”