Old naira notes to remain legal tender until further notice, Supreme Court rules 

Written by on November 29, 2023

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that the old N200, N500, N1000 notes should continue to co-exist with the new notes till further notice.

The Supreme Court has decreed that both the old and new currency notes will retain their status as legal tender until the Federal Government establishes a comprehensive process for their replacement or redesign, following consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The ruling, delivered by a seven-man panel presided over by Justice Inyang Okoro, was in response to an application from the Federal Government. The government sought an extension of the period during which the old naira notes could be used as legal tender. Additionally, the government requested the court to lift its earlier order from March 3, emphasizing that the extension was necessary due to challenges in printing a sufficient volume of new notes for the phased withdrawal of the old currency before the December 31 deadline.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, presented the fresh application, providing further clarification that a refusal to extend the circulation period could lead to significant national, economic, and financial crises. The government argued that the country might face challenges reminiscent of the initial quarter of the year when the naira redesign policy, spearheaded by the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was implemented. The government urged the court to permit the simultaneous use of old and new notes until it completes consultations with stakeholders, highlighting the potential risk to the economy due to hoarding of both currency types by some Nigerians ahead of the December 31 deadline.

The seven-man panel, in a unanimous decision, granted Fagbemi’s application.

In a related development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had previously announced in mid-November that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes would retain their legal tender status indefinitely.

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