Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Supreme Court in Abuja on Wednesday, held that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes remain legal tender until necessary facilities are put in place for their replacement.
A seven-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice John Okoro, made the declaration while delivering ruling in a motion brought by the Federal Government.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), in company with the Acting Director, Civil Appeals, Federal Ministry of Justice, Tijani Gazali (SAN), had moved the application seeking for an extension of the apex court’s order issued earlier, extending the lifespan of the affected old naira notes till the end of the year.
The former administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the ban of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes under the currency redesign policy introduced late 2022.
However, following a suit by the state governments in 2022, the apex court had extended the lifespan of the affected old naira notes till the end of 2023.
In the ruling in the application on Wednesday, the apex court subsequently granted the request of the Federal Government and made an order extending the lifespan of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
According to the ruling, the old notes shall continue to co-exist as legal tender with the new/redesigned ones.
While reviewing its earlier order that the old notes should cease from being legal tender by the last day of December 2023, the apex court ruled: “That the old versions of 200, 500, 1,000 naira notes/currency shall continue to be legal tenders alongside the new or designed versions until the government decides to bring the circulation of the old versions to an end after its consultation with critical stakeholders and after putting all required structures in place.”
Other members of the panel are Justices Uwani Aba-Aji, Helen Ogunwumiju, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Tijani Abubakar and Emmanuel Agim.