Central Bank Of Nigeria Makes U-Turn, Asks Commercial Banks To Collect Old N500, N1,000 Notes

The apex bank had opened a portal on its website and made it mandatory for those willing to return old notes to fill and generate a code.

As tension continues to rise over the rejection of old N500 and N1,000 notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria has told the management of commercial banks to start collecting the old notes from the public with immediate effect.

Some Nigerians who are still in possession of the old naira notes due to poor circulation of the newly designed currency had taken over the major cities across the country.

They lament being unable to carry out daily transactions or even buy food because banks have commenced the implementation of the CBN deadline for the phasing out of the new notes.

The apex bank had opened a portal on its website and made it mandatory for those willing to return old notes to fill and generate a code.

However, SaharaReporters gathered that CBN has made a U-turn and ordered the banks to collect the monies.

A source in a commercial bank in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Friday told SaharaReporters that he was part of a virtual meeting held on Thursday night where they were told that the apex bank had directed that they could resume the collection of old naira notes from customers.

The banker said, “We didn’t go to the office on Thursday because of the unrest in Ibadan on Friday. However, we were asked to resume work on Friday morning. We had a virtual meeting on Thursday night where we were also told that the CBN had said banks should resume the collection of old naira notes.

“We were told that there would be designated banks that would handle it. First, you will generate a reference code online. Then with the code, you will go to the bank and fill out a form and the old notes will be collected from you. But I understand that it may take up to four weeks for the customer to get the money replaced. And I don’t know if the branch where I work will be one of the designated ones because we were told that there would be designated branches to handle it.”

SaharaReporters learnt that the apex bank made a U-turn to reduce the number of people thronging their offices to swap the old notes for new ones, by decentralising the process.

Every state has only one CBN office, making the initially process tedious for people.

In October 2022, Emefiele announced the plan to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, and asked Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, when they would cease to be legal tender.

Although the deadline was extended to February 17, many Nigerians have found it difficult to obtain the new naira notes.

Before the cash shortage, Nigerians were dealing with months-long petrol scarcity across the country with the product now being sold for as high as N400 per litre in some states as against the normal price of about N175.

Faced with cash and petrol scarcity, Nigerians have taken to the streets in some states to protest their experiences in queues at petrol stations and banks.

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