By Bassey Udo
Confusion reigned on Friday as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) denied mandating deposit money banks (DMBs) to continue collecting deposits from customers in N500 and N1,000 banknotes denominations.
Since the national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday to douse the tension across the country in the wake of the controversy that trailed the deadline by the apex bank for the old Naira banknotes to cease to remain as legal tenders, there have been conflicting information circulating about the issue.
The President in his broadcast had authorised the extension of the deadline for the continued circulation of only the N200 denomination of the currency from the February 10, 2023 earlier set by the CBN.
He said the N200 currency was to remain legal tender across the country for 60 days till April 10 apparently in obedience to the Supreme Court order for the extension of the February 10, 2023 deadline set by the CBN.
However, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el Rufai in a statewide broadcast on Thursday openly defied the directive by the President by urging the people in the state to continue to use the N500 and N1,000 denomination of the currency as legal tender till the Supreme Court directs otherwise.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all the old and new notes shall remain in use as legal tender in Kaduna State until the Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise.
“I, therefore, appeal to all residents of Kaduna State to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear.
“The Kaduna State government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners. If need be, we shall take further consequential actions according to the law”, the governor said in his broadcast.
Also, some media reported on Friday that the CBN directed banks to continue collecting deposits of N500 and N1,000 currencies from their customers.
But in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the apex bank, Osita Nwanisobi, no such directive came from the management of the Bank. He said such information should be disregarded as fake.
The statement read: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to some fake and unauthorized messages quoting the CBN as having authorized the Deposits.
“For the avoidance of doubt, and in line with Mr. President’s broadcast of February 16, 2023, the CBN has been directed to ONLY reissue and recirculate the old N200 banknotes, and this is expected to circulate as legal tender for 60 days up to April 10, 2023.
“Members of the public should therefore disregard any message and/or information not formally released by the Central Bank of Nigeria on this subject”, he said.
Nwanisobi advised media practitioners to verify any information on the issue from the correct sources before publication.