Notwithstanding the ruling of the Supreme Court, banks have said they cannot commence re-issuance of the old Naira notes until they are directed to do so by the Central Banks of Nigeria, CBN.
In fact, a banker said the old notes were no longer in their possession, but with CBN and would be available for customers when CBN releases them.
Meanwhile, stakeholders including bank customers, financial analysts and business owners, have called for immediate re-issuance of the old Naira notes in compliance with the Supreme Court.Some banks’ officials told Vanguard that the banks would comply once they get a directive from CBN.
One of the officials working with Access Bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the banks would obey what CBN says, not the Supreme Court.
“Banks in Nigeria are heavily regulated and we only listen to what the CBN says. Despite the (Supreme ruling, we still need to hear from our regulator,” he said.
On whether the apex bank will obey, he said the CBN reports to the President and that the President has decided on the issue.
“We all know what the President has said on the matter. The CBN takes its orders from the Presidency. I am sure any action by CBN would be a directive from the President.”
Another bank official, who works from Keystone Bank said: “We can’t do anything contrary to CBN.
They will direct what next and probably from Monday we shall get more updates from our management when they meet on Monday.”
‘We don’t have old notes’
But another bank official, who also pleaded to remain anonymous, told Vanguard that in spite of the directive, the old notes have not been made available to the bank.
In his words: “We don’t have the old notes and we are not answerable to the Supreme Court.
“The CBN must send a circular before we can implement any directive.”
Corroborating, another banker stressed that the old Naira notes are no longer in their possession, adding that if the CBN makes it available to banks they will start paying their customers.
However, Olamide, an engineer, said that he has over N200,000 of the old notes and that he has been thinking on how to deposit it to the bank.
In his words: “My business has not been unsteady since the policy. Most banks have refused to pay the new naira notes to Nigerians, they always complain of not having cash in their banks.”
An importer, Lanre said that in the past court orders have not been obeyed and as such, the Supreme Court’s directive may not be implemented.
According to him, “Initially, when the Supreme Court issued the order and the President of the country issued a counter directive by saying that the old N200 should continue to be in circulation, it appeared that the public chose to go with the directive from the President, instead of the Supreme Court.
“In this situation, there are two sides giving counter orders — the President and the Supreme Court. Now, the Supreme Court has gone ahead to say that those currencies should be valid till 31st of December.
“The only way the average market woman, the artisans and the transporters will feel comfortable and accept it is if it’s being backed up by the President.”