By Our Correspondent
The Central Bank of Nigeria has again said that the January 31 deadline for the validity of the old 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes remains unchanged.
This is as calls from various quarters have poured in pleading and demanding with the apex bank to shift grounds and extend the deadline in order to allow Nigerians more time to return their old notes to deposit money banks, better known as commercial banks.
But refusing to yield to pressure, the apex bank, via its verified Twitter page, insisted on Saturdaynight that the January 31, 2023 deadline remains.
Reposting a video of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, from the just concluded Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the apex bank said, “Deadline for the return of old series of 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes remains January 31 2023.”
While in the video posted Emefiele said, “Unfortunately, I don’t have good news for those who feel we should shift the deadline, my apologies.
“The reason is because, just like the president has said more than two occasions and even to some people privately, 100 days is more than enough for anybody who has the old currency to deposit it in the banks. And we took every measure to ensure that all the banks were and are still open to accept deposits.”
News Point Nigeria reported on Saturday that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, was one of the latest persons who pleaded with the CBN for extension of the deadline, saying as much as the policy was welcomed, a slight extension would ease the discomfort of Nigerians.
Many Nigerians have continued to lament the unavailability and scarcity of the new notes, decrying that banks up till now still give out the old naira notes to customers with Automated Teller Machines still dispensing old notes with the deadline only three days away.
News Point Nigeria reported also that the House of Representatives as well as the Senate had also pleaded with the apex bank to extend the deadline by six months, till July 31, 2023.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said the naira redesign is not meant to target innocent citizens but corrupt persons and terror financiers hoarding illicit monies.
The CBN on October 26, 2022 had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. The president subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.