Wednesday, February 15, 2023


The Central Bank of Nigeria ((CBN), has justified its decision not to extend the expiry date for the old Naira notes, saying it was designed to save the nation’s democracy and to discourage vote-buying in the coming presidential election.

The Counsel to CBN, O. M. Atoyebi (SAN) and Co., gave this reasons in a counter-affidavit in a suit filed against the apex bank by a group,  Social Rehabilitation Grace and Supportive Initiative  (SRG) led by a Nigeria-born United States medical practitioner,  Dr. Marindoti Oludare.

The group had dragged the CBN before a Federal High Court in Akure, asking the Court to compel CBN to extend the expiry date for the old Naira notes by six months, while the apex bank prayed the court to dismiss the suit, saying that the plaintiffs had no justifiable reason for filing it.

However, the CBN Counsel in the interlocutory injunction said the CBN opposed “the extension (of expiry date for old naira  notes of N200, N500 and N1000)  saying it will give room for vote-buying and undermine the forthcoming  election.

It also added that “the extension of the timeliness will jeopardise the fight against fraud, corruption  and criminal activities perpetrated with the use of the old currencies”. It specifically  cited the festering kidnapping  crime, claiming a change in currency  notes will end it.

Countering the SRG’s reference to currency change in India in 2016 in which the group said the Indians were given enough time to replace old Indian rupees, the CBN differed in its narration of the Indian experience.

It said, “The government  of India announced the change of their legal tender on November 8, 2016 and was implemented within two days.

The entire citizens of India of about 1.417 billion adhered to the timeliness strictly, which has led to positive improvement of the Indian economy.”

The SRG maintained that the CBN acted beyond its powers by setting a timeliness for the expiration of the old Naira notes.

The group told the court that “While we know of a fact that the CBN has the right to denominate the Naira, it has no right to erase the value acquired  by individuals.

The administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan also redesigned currency  notes, following which the new and old naira notes were both legal tender for over two years before the old notes went out of circulation”.

Oludare, the first plaintiff, also stated, “When I visited Nigeria from the United States of America  on December 29, 2022, I went to Automated Teller Machine operated by First Bank of Nigeria Plc in Lagos to make some cash withdrawals  but the machine dispensed only the old notes”.

He said the CBN had failed to also provide a means whereby Nigerians resident abroad could exchange their old notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has explained that its decision not to extend the expiration date of the old Naira notes is aimed at preventing vote-buying and safeguarding the nation's democracy during the upcoming presidential election. This statement was made by the CBN Counsel in response to a lawsuit filed by a group, Social Rehabilitation Grace and Supportive Initiative (SRG), which asked the court to compel the CBN to extend the expiration date by six months. The CBN argued that extending the expiration date would increase the risk of fraud, corruption, and other criminal activities, including kidnapping. The CBN also stated that the Indians complied with a similar change of currency in 2016 within two days, leading to positive improvements in their economy. The SRG, on the other hand, argued that the CBN exceeded its powers by setting a deadline for the expiration of the old Naira notes and that Nigerians living abroad had no means of exchanging their old notes.

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