Panic as banks reject old notes and ignore the Supreme Court

Despite an order from the Supreme Court extending the deadline until tomorrow, February 15, when action would most likely be taken, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) across the country began rejecting the old naira notes yesterday.

Dailytrust’s research indicates that commercial banks were rejecting customers who came into their branches to deposit old notes collected over the weekend in several states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Keep in mind that last week, a seven-member Supreme Court panel stopped the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from using the old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes. This was done by issuing an interim injunction.

The main case’s hearing was postponed until tomorrow, February 15.

The decision comes as a result of a lawsuit that the governors of Kogi, Kaduna, and Zamfara states filed to challenge the federal government’s naira redesign policy.

Numerous Nigerians were perplexed by this development. Others blatantly refused the old notes, while some accepted them.

In a similar vein, President Buhari has not spoken, despite his request for seven days to resolve the crisis brought on by a lack of new naira notes.

Analysts have expressed concern that, despite the intervention of the National Council of States, neither the Federal Government nor the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a policy statement other than the rhetoric that more new notes should be printed or the old ones should be recalculated.

Newscasters who went to commercial banks in the states of Lagos, Abuja, Kwara, Ondo, and Bayelsa, among others, noticed that the old notes were rejected.

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The fact that the old notes were rejected today at the bank shocked me. When Mrs. Juliet Okoro went to one of the older-generation banks in Ikeja, she lamented, “I took the money I had with me, but the bank rejected the old N500 notes.”

Different circumstances prevailed in Bayelsa State, where nearly all of the commercial banks in Yenagoa, the state capital, ceased operations due to alleged security threats.

Only security personnel were on duty at the commercial banks around the Amarata axis of Yenagoa, the state capital, and ATMs were not dispensing because no cash was stored inside.

Similarly, many customers in Ondo State’s commercial banks yesterday refused to accept their old currencies.

Newscasters in Akure say that a lot of customers who stormed the Jaiz Bank in the Alagbaka neighborhood of the state capital said the official told them to take their old notes to the CBN.

Mr. Owamoyo Tolani Okolo, another customer, explained that the old notes he was carrying were also rejected by an Owo-based commercial bank.

In an interview with Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, senior representatives from UBA, Jaiz, and FCMB in Ilorin confirmed the development and stated that all state banks have officially begun to reject the old notes.

Additionally, a member of one of the new-generation banks’ upper management stated that the banks were awaiting the CBN’s next move.

He stated that the banks were awaiting the CBN’s directive on the order because they were not parties to the governors’ lawsuit.

According to what Daily Trust is able to report, cash shortages have forced the closure of the majority of Zenith Bank branches in the Federal Capital Territory. The majority of the branches that Daily Trust went to in the city center were locked and keyed, and the gates were clearly marked as closed.

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However, due to a network glitch and a lack of cash, the few branches that were operating were clogged with huge crowds who were left unattended.

When asked why the majority of their branches in the FCT were closed, the branch manager at one of the branches visited by the publication on Monday in the Wuse area of Abuja stated that it was unnecessary to open multiple branches without cash to serve customers.

He stated, “Only customers with fund transfer slips will be serviced as the branch currently does not have cash supply from CBN for the day, but will attend to customers and load ATMs as soon as cash comes,” as he addressed the massive crowd at the bank’s entrance.


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