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Nigerian Central Bank, Governor Emefiele Dragged To Court Over January 31 Deadline For Old Naira Notes

January 26, 2023

The request is part of the relief sought in the FHC/ABJ/CS/114/2023 suit filed by Joshua Alobo, a law professor.

The Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to stop the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its Governor, Godwin Emefiele, from implementing the January 31 deadline for the old N200, N500, and N1000 naira notes, among other things.

The request is part of the relief sought in the FHC/ABJ/CS/114/2023 suit filed by Joshua Alobo, a law professor.

Alobo also requests that the court issue a mandatory order requiring the CBN to extend the "duration where the old notes cease to become legal tender to a period of three weeks when the redesign notes will be sufficiently dispensed by commercial banks."

The CBN, Emefiele, and the Attorney-General of the Federation are named as defendants in the suit (AGF).

In a supporting affidavit, the plaintiff stated that on October 26, 2022, the CBN Governor announced that the apex bank would introduce a new series of redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes into the financial system.

He stated that, while the CBN's decision is intended to reduce inflation and establish a cashless society in order to combat money laundering and corruption, the majority of Nigerians, particularly the less privileged, have yet to receive the new naira notes that President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled on November 23, 2022.

Alobo, who accused commercial banks of failing to make the new naira notes available to their customers, claimed that as of January 25, he was still given the old notes on the counter and through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

He noted that major shopping malls in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had already announced the rejection of old notes, with ATMs limiting daily withdrawals to N20,000.00.

Alobo contended that the terminal date of January 31 for usage of the old notes "was discriminatory against the rural dwellers, poor and less privileged persons in the society, as politically exposed persons are paid with the redesigned notes.” 

“The Central Bank of Nigeria's cashless policy was an innovative and welcome development, but rural dwellers, who made up the majority of the population, lack access to information and banking services.


“The legal tussle for the arrest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by the Department of State Security, DSS, at the Federal High Court resulted in uncertainty as to the full implementation of the redesigned Naira notes.”

“The legal action at the FCT, High Court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the Governor of CBN also necessitated anxiety in the country on the implementation of the policy.

“The Governor of CBN arrived Nigeria on January 13, 2023 and visited the President at the Aso Rock. The reception was well publicised in both electronic and print media.

“The current daily limit of transaction to N20,000 is against the Central Bank daily limit of N100,000,” he said.