In compliance with the March 3 Supreme Court judgment, which extended the validity of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, currency redesign policy to December 31, some banks across the country have started paying out the old N500 and N1,000 notes to their customers.
Findings by our correspondent, however, revealed partial compliance as some banks have not followed suit, maintaining that they are awaiting official directive from CBN to do so.
The banks that were issuing the old banknotes to their customers yesterday include GTBank, Access Bank, Sterling Bank and Union Bank.
Confirming this development, a customer of Access Bank said that he withdrew N20,000 and was paid with the old N500 and N1,000 notes.
However, an official of the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied that the bank had commenced issuing the old notes to customers, as the CBN had not authorised the banks to do so.
Speaking to our newsman, a staff of GTB, who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the development: “Yes, we paid out N500 and N1,000 to customers today (yesterday).”
Another source close to GTB told a journalist that the bank received an informal approval from the CBN before dispensing the old N500 and N1,000 notes to customers.
However, a top CBN official denied knowledge of any approval or directive whether official or unofficial, authorising banks to issue the old notes.
According to the source, the CBN has not received any directive from the Federal Government and hence cannot issue any directive to the banks on the issue.
Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that old N500 and N1,000 notes should remain legal tender till December 31.
Commenting on the development, the President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, AMMBAN, Mr Olojo Victor, said: “Yes it is a good omen.
“We believe that the Supreme Court has indeed proven to be the last hope for the common man.
“The policy wasn’t well thought out even though the intention was good but it further impoverished Nigerians. It made them jobless. It made life difficult and unbearable.
“I hope that the CBN will obey the Supreme Court order to the letter so that life can resume back to normal for Nigerians again.
“As an association, it is a welcome development and we thank the Supreme Court for not letting the hope of the common man down.
“We thank the Supreme Court for upholding justice and we hope that the CBN in future engagement will put in place proper mechanisms in carrying out its policies that affect Nigerians like this.”
On his part, the President, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, welcomed the development saying: “We didn’t expect less. It is therefore a welcome development.”