Nigeria: Banks Begin Dispensing of Old N500, N1, 000 Notes Via ATMs, Over-the-Counter

15 March 2023

Following a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive on Monday that the old N500 and N1, 000 remain legal tender in line with a Supreme Court ruling, banks have started dispensing the currencies over-the-counter (OTC) and via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

However, investigation by THISDAY showed that business operators were still reluctant to collect and transact with the old notes.

THISDAY visited some branches of banks in Lagos, and most ATMs were dispensing the old notes, just as the banknotes were being dispensed over-the-counter.

But it was discovered that banks were still requesting customers to fill deposit forms via the CBN portal, which was what some of their customers expressed concern about.

Findings also showed that queues have subsided at banks' ATMs.

But all the supermarkets visited and petrol stations were still insisting on being paid with the new banknotes or via electronic channels.

The central bank had released a statement on Monday night assuring that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 remained legal tender till December 2023 in line with the ruling of the Supreme Court.

The statement by the apex bank had given confidence to more Nigerians who had been reluctant to accept the old notes.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives member-elect for Ideato North/South federal constituency, Ikenga Ugochinyere, has commended the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, for complying with the Supreme Court ruling and directing commercial banks and other financial institutions in the country to continue to accept and pay out the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes till December 31, 2023.

Ugochinyere, who is also the spokesman of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), while commending the CBN, accused some bank chief executives and managers of hoarding the new notes for political reasons. He described as saddening the long queues at the banks, as people helplessly waited to withdraw money, while managers of banks were allegedly helping moneybag politicians to get the new notes.

Ugochinyere said, "It's commendable that the CBN, in compliance with the rule of law, directed deposit money banks operating in Nigeria to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023, by accepting and paying out the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes till December 31, 2023.

"Nigerian citizens are yearning for the best and should not be made to suffer more hardship, hence, managers of banks who are found to hoard the new naira notes to create artificial scarcity, but are behind the public arena helping moneybag politicians to get the new notes, set the public up against the CBN's new policy, such banks and bankers should be investigated, and if found culpable, be made to face the wrath of the law."

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