Amid the raging confusion over the circulation of the redesigned Naira notes in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday insisted on following the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for the reissue and circulation of only the N200 denomination of the national currency in the country.
Following the expiration on February 10 of the extended deadline by the apex bank for the continued circulation of the N200, N500 and N1,000 denomination banknotes as legal tenders in the country, President Buhari in a national broadcast announced his approval for the issue and continued circulation of the old N200 as legal tender till April 10,2023.
The directive, the president said, would see the old N200 only continuing to circulate throughout the country alongside its new version for 60 days after which it would cease to remain as legal tender.
However, since the announcement, confusion has continued to trail the presidential directive, as conflicting information has been flying around that the CBN had given counter instructions to commercial banks to begin the collection of the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes from their customers.
Although the CBN had clarified that the instruction was for people to take such banknotes to any of its branches nearest to them after completing due documentation, the conflicting information continued to gain grounds.
In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN and the CBN spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, said contrary to the counter information making the rounds, the apex bank has resolved to follow the directive of the President on the issue that only N200 would be reissued and circulated.
The statement titled: “CBN Sticks to Presidential Directive to Reissue only 200 Naira Old Banknotes” read:
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to a FAKE PRESS RELEASE purported to have emanated from the Bank to the effect that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reissuance and release of old N500 and N1, 000 notes as legal tender in the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Central Bank of Nigeria reiterates that in line with the directives of Mr. President, only N200 old notes are to be reissued and to circulate concurrently with the new notes.
“Members of the public are therefore advised to ignore this fake news.
“The Bank is working with the law enforcement agencies to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the purveyors of this fake news. Please be guided accordingly.”
Reports said the CBN statement was informed by another statement that claimed the bank was ordered to continue issuing the old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes until May 1, 2023.
The fake statement was attributed to the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, who reportedly uploaded the contentious news release on her Instagram page on Tuesday morning, February 21.
The misleading statement attributed to the CBN read; “Due to the current and unpleasant situation happening in Nigeria, in line with Mr. President’s directive, after having a closed meeting with him on the 20th of February, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been directed to ONLY reissue and recirculate the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes and this is expected to circulate as legal tender for 70 days up to May 1, 2023. Members of the public should therefore continue to spend the old notes.”
“Media practitioners are advised to PLEASE spread out this helpful information to the public.”
Regardless, the CBN urged members of the public to disregard the fake news and ensure that any message and/or information not formally released by the Central Bank of Nigeria on this subject are ignored.
“Media practitioners are advised to PLEASE verify any information from the correct sources before publication,” the CBN said.