THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has described reports by some media outlets (not The ICIR) saying it has directed commercial banks to start accepting the old N500, N1000 from depositors as fake.
Some media establishments had today been quoting online the Director of Corporate Communications at the apex bank, Osita Nwanisiobi, as issuing a directive that individuals with N500,000 and below can now deposit their monies via their respective commercial banks.
Setting the records straight in a statement he issued and personally signed this afternoon, Nwanisiobi described the report as “fake and authorised.”
The statement read, “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to some fake and authorised messages quoting the CBN as having authorised the Deposit Money Banks to collect the old N500 and N1000 banknotes.
“For the avoidance of doubt, and in line with Mr President’s broadcast on February 16, 2023, the CBN has been directed to only issue and recirculate the old N200 bank note, and this is expected to circulate as a legal tender for 60 days up to April 10, 2023.”
Nwanisiobi directed members of the public to disregard any message and information not formally released by the CBN on the subject.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have in large numbers been besieging CBN offices across the country with huge sums of cash to deposit.
At the Abuja head office of the apex bank located at the Garki area of the Federal Capital Territory, many people were seen struggling to deposit the rested notes.
Some of them who spoke to The ICIR described the process as tedious and stressful.
“This is really a very complicated situation. I have been here since morning, and I’m still number 257,” a frustrated looking trader, Mohammed Yusuf, told The ICIR.
A lawyer and Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, told The ICIR that the harrowing experience Nigerians were going through could have been avoided if the policy had been properly planned.
“There are stages in strategic planning. Nigerians don’t deserve to be going through these difficulties. This is a consequence of poor planning,” Onyekpere said.
A development economist, Kelvin Emmanuel, said the “incoherent nature and the back-and-forth” that characterised the policy had created economic sabotage.
“How do you sabotage the economy, create pandemonium and panic, cause collateral damage to businesses and put the national security at risk because of a policy? Once you cannot explain a policy thoroughly, it is politics playing out. Look at how everybody is struggling,” Emmanuel added.