Some Nigerian banks have begun paying the old 1,000 and 500 naira notes to customers following the Supreme Court judgment, which extended their validity to December 31. The court in a ruling on a case brought before it by a number of state governors against the Federal Government had said the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) contravened the 1999 Constitution. Ripples Nigeria’s findings revealed that some banks had begun partial compliance with the order even though the CBN and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation were yet to make any official statement on the ruling by the apex court. GTBank branches in Lagos and Abuja reportedly paid customers in the old N1000, and N500 notes on Monday. The silence of the federal government and the CBN authorities over the ruling of the Supreme Court had worried many Nigerians, who felt the ruling went a long way in dousing tension and reducing hardships being faced by Nigerians and business in the country in the aftermath of the apex bank’s policy.
According to the CBN Act of 2007, the apex bank is a fully autonomous body that regulates financial institutions in the country and its duties include ensuring monetary and price stability and rendering economic advice to the Federal Government. Banks can only act on CBN directives, which explains why the silence has created confusion surrounding the implementation of the recirculation of old notes.