The Central Bank of Nigeria on October 26, 2022 announced its plan to redesign N200, N500 and N1,000 notes. On November 23, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari, subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes and the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the expiration of the old notes.
Reacting to this development, the Sokoto State Chapter of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Barrister Muhammad Mansur Aliyu has appealed to the Federal Government to extend the deadline by at least two weeks.
However, this week businesses in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States were almost grounded as a result of the 31st January, 2023 deadline for expiration of old naira notes as a result of refusal to accept the old naira notes in commercial transactions out of fear of possible inability to deposit the old naira notes in commercial banks.
This is because every bank a customer goes he would meet a very long queue of depositors, trying to deposit their old naira notes in their attempt to beat the deadline. Businessmen have to be at bank as early as 6:00 am in order to join queue at commercial banks to have their old naira notes changed. Moreover, because of lack of enough new naira notes in circulation, fear of receiving old naira notes and unsure of whether one could be able to deposit the money he collected from customers at banks before the deadline due to very long queues many businessmen stopped collecting old notes.
Many filling stations and other essential services providers also closed, because of most of their customers come with old naira notes and they are not sure whether they could be able to deposit same to the bank. This has currently made life more difficult to ordinary citizens. Many Nigerians have lamented the nonavailability and scarcity of the new notes, this is because banks up till today, still give out the old naira notes to customers with the deadline only a few days away.
Sequel to the forgoing, we appeal to the Federal Government to reconsider its decision by extending the 31st January, 2023 deadline for expiration of old naira notes by at least two weeks to enable Nigerians to swap their old naira with the new naira notes. We also call on the security agencies particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to closely monitor how commercial bank managers handle the new naira notes, they receive from Central Bank of Nigeria, which apex bank has been consistently insisting that the new notes are readily available at the vaults nationwide ready for collection. We call on Nigerians to remain peaceful and stop panicking about the money swap.