Why Buhari approved old naira deadline extension — Emefiele
…says 75 per cent old notes now collected
…vows to sanction banks ‘selling’ new notes
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, in Daura, approved the Central Bank of Nigeria’s request to extend the deadline for swapping of old naira notes with the redesigned notes from January 31, 2023, to February 10 2023.
Buhari also approved a seven-day grace period which runs from February 10 to February 17 2023, to allow Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after which the old notes cease to be Legal Tender.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed these to State House correspondents shortly after he met the President in his country home in Daura, Katsina State, on Sunday.
He disclosed that 75 per cent of the N2.7tn held outside the banking system had been recovered.
The governor said, “We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 per cent of the N2.7tn held outside the banking system. Nigerians in the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiative as well as the CBN senior staff nationwide sensitisation team exercise.
“Aside from those holding illicit/stolen naira in their homes for speculative purposes, we do aim to give all Nigerians that have naira legitimately earned and trapped, the opportunity to deposit their legitimately trapped monies at the CBN for exchange.
“Based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr President’s approval for the following: 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023; to legitimately held by Nigerians and achieve more success in cash swap in our rural communities after which all old notes outside the CBN losses their Legal tender Status.
“Our CBN staff currently on mass mobilisation and monitoring together with officials of the EFCC and ICPC will work together to achieve these objectives. A seven-day grace period, beginning on February 10 to February 17,2023, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would have lost its Legal Tender status.
“We therefore appeal to all Nigerians to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure a hitch free the implementation of this very important process for program.”
Emefiele also vowed that Nigerians found selling, abusing or spraying the new naira notes at public functions will be “sanctioned” by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He said with each note having a unique number, abused currencies can now be tracked to their users.
“For those involved in this, even if they are CBN staff members, they will be sanctioned. We will track them. Luckily, those new naira notes have trackers, we have their numbers because they have been issued.
“Once we see these numbers, we will track them and we will make public those that are involved in this business of selling new naira. Whereas, there are people who are suffering in the villages that need those new notes, we will deal with them.
“We have passed on a few videos to the EFCC and they are going to track these people. It’s not about the CBN tracking them. It’s about the EFCC or the ICPC and independent enforcement institutions to go after them,” he said.