January 31 deadline on naira notes: My running back and forth has paid up with extension – Tinubu

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 President Muhammadu Buhari has approved extension of the ongoing currency swap by ten days, moving the deadline from January 31, 2023 to February 10, 2023.

And the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has welcomed the decision, describing the development as huge relief for Nigerians.

But the House of Representatives has rejected the extension, saying it’s not the solution to demands of Nigerians.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had fixed January 31st as the deadline for the exchange of the old naira notes; N200, N500 and N1000.


Commending the decision, the APC PCC said the decision showed the duo of President Buhari and CBN listened to the concerns raised by the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the challenges faced by Nigerians on the naira swap policy.

A statement signed Sunday by Director Media and Publicity APC-PCC Bayo Onanuga said the decision was a right step in the right direction.

“We want to commend the Central Bank of Nigeria and Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele for listening to the voice of well meaning Nigerians on the exigency of extending the deadline for change of old N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes to the new ones.

“Following difficulties experienced by Nigerians from across the country from getting the new notes via ATMs and over the counter from Banks, many Nigerians especially requested for an extension of the 31 January, 2023 deadline.

“We welcome the 10 day extension of deadline and the additional seven days of grace.

“This window will enable Nigerians especially those in rural and remote areas to have more time to change their old notes and avert the panic that would have followed.

“We specially commend Presidential Muhammadu Buhari for approving this extension and for his leadership and statesmanship.

“In the same vein, we praise our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his forthrightness in addressing the concerns of Nigerians at his campaign rally in Abeokuta last week.

“Asiwaju Tinubu didn’t take the easy road by shying away from what would have caused serious inconvenience for our teeming masses.

 “Asiwaju showed leadership and compassion for the welfare of Nigerians, at the most appropriate time,” the statement said.

 My role in deadline extension – Tinubu

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Amed Bola Tinubu has said his intervention in the deadline for the use of old naira notes prompted the extension of by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Tinubu stated this when he led other members of his campaign entourage on a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare ll, in his palace in Benin City, Edo state.

He said, “let me apologise to all the chiefs, respected leaders and traditional rulers for waiting since morning till now.

“This is not intentional but because of national politics. Some of your cousins, wives selling garden eggs, carrots roasted corn need money and if naira is canceled, and we failed to intervene, then we have failed in our duty.

“We have been on this for three days. And, suddenly, in the afternoon, out of great respect, the presidency considered our request for extension. I was running back and forth calling him.  

“So, that is what we have been doing. Luckily, even though we didn’t get everything we wanted, we got an extension for a number of days,” he stated.

Buhari’s extension

Announcing the extension Sunday in Daura, Katsina state, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said the president gave the approval after a meeting.

Emefiele said President Buhari urged more time, discretion and order to enable Nigerians successfully change their currencies to the redesigned notes, and reduce the risk of loss, especially among the underserved in rural areas. 

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the CBN governor said the currency swap had achieved more than 75 per cent success rate of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system, with evident drop in rate of inflation, more stability of foreign exchange rates, and noticeable impact on security, especially in banditry and kidnapping figures. 

“First, I will like to thank Mr. President for giving the CBN the approval to embark on this ambitious programme because, like I said, in the past, the CBN has not had the opportunity to embark on such currency redesign programme in last 19 years and indeed, let me emphasize, that only an incorruptible leader of the President’s stature can give such approval to the CBN,” he said.

The CBN governor noted that redesigns were supposed to be every five to eight years.

“Our aim is mainly to make Monetary Policy Decisions more efficacious and as you can see; we have started to see inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable. 

“Secondly, we aim to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom taking in Nigeria through this programme and we see that the military are making good progress in this important task,” he said.

The head of the apex financial regulator said available data had shown that currency-in- circulation in 2015 was only N1.4 trillion, while as at October 2022, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion, out of which only N500 billion was within the banking industry.

He said N2.7 trillion was held permanently in people’s homes. 

“Ordinarily, when CBN releases currency into circulation, it is meant to be used and after effluxion of time, it returns to the CBN thereby keeping the volume of currency in circulation under the firm control of the CBN.

“So far and since commencement of this programme, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion (N500 billion + N1.9 trillion),” the CBN boss said.

Emefiele also said, to achieve effective distribution of the new currency, the CBN had taken some steps.

He said several meetings were held with Deposit Money Banks and they were provided with Guidance Notes on processes they must adopt in the collection of old notes and distribution of the New Notes, including directives that new notes should be loaded in ATMs nationwide for equitable and transparent mechanism.

The CBN governor further explained that the regulatory body worked with the media, print and broadcast, and the National Orientation Agency for sensitization of citizens, while 30,000 Super Agents were deployed nationwide, particularly in rural areas, regions underserved by banks and to reach the weak and vulnerable for currency swap. 

To ensure compliance, Emefiele said staff members, mostly Assistant Directors, Deputy Directors and Directors in Abuja were sent to all CBN branches nationwide to join the mass mobilisation campaign and monitoring programmes. 

He said breaches of the programme had been reported to the EFCC and ICPC for further action. 

“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 sort and obtained Mr President’s approval for the following: A ten-day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023; to allow for collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians and achieve more success in cash swap in our rural communities after which all old notes outside CBN losses their legal tender status,” he said.

Emefiele said a seven-day grace period had been given by the president, beginning from February 10 to February 17, 2023, in compliance with Sections 20 (3) and 22 of CBN Act allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline. 

Fielding questions from newsmen, the CBN Governor said the excuse of security threats pushed by the Kano state Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, had no bearing on the swap, which had achieved compliance and recorded huge success across the country.

“I don’t understand the relationship between the CBN policy and security challenges in Kano State,” he said. 

The CBN boss further said all new currencies had security features that make it easy for tracking to bank branches, and the process had begun to deal with defaulters and those who breached the programme.

“Even if they are CBN staff, they will be sanctioned,” Emefiele warned. 

Reps kick

But the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on new naira re-design and naira swap policy rejected the ten-day extension granted by the CBN  for the exchange of old naira notes.

The committee chair, Majority Leader Alhassan Ado Doguwa rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act.

Doguwa, who made the position known  Sunday said:  “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5  of the CBN act and nothing more. 

“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Adhoc committee.” 

He said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.  

Describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa said the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed by Hon. Speaker on Monday. 

 CSJ, Uwaleke, CSOs laud CBN 

However,Lead Director Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Barrister Eze Onyekpere  has applauded the CBN for the extension.

In a statement Sunday, Onyekpere said: “The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) welcomes with relief the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, of the request by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for the extension of the deadline for swapping old naira notes with the redesigned naira notes from January 31 to February 10, 2023. CSJ believes that many hardworking Nigerians, especially in the rural areas would have lost their honest income if the January 31st  deadline was not extended.

“CSJ recalls that the major challenge necessitating the clamour for extension was the failure, refusal and neglect of CBN to make available the new redesigned notes in sufficient quantity to match the legal and legitimate needs and demands of Nigerians. If the CBN had made available enough new notes from the date it was launched till the end of January 2023, coupled with massive sensitization, there would have been no need for the extension. The money deposit banks were still issuing the old notes to customers as at Friday 27th January 2023 when the deadline had not been shifted from the end of the month.  

 “CBN’s claim that it had issued out sufficient quantity of new notes is unfounded and not supportable by empirical evidence. CBN mandated banks only to pay the new notes from ATMs and to continue to put the old notes in circulation through customers who came to withdraw money across the counter. This is a clear contradictory instruction which guaranteed that old notes continued in circulation.

“There are no reports that cash limits for individuals and corporate organizations were breached. Moreover, at the public hearing organized by the House of Representatives on this matter, senior bank officials averred that banks got only ten percent of the value of old notes deposited with the CBN. So, how can this percentage be sufficient?

“If by any empirical calculation, the percentage stated to have been received by the banks is the usual ratio between deposits and cash releases by CBN to the money deposit banks, then the CBN will be guilty of the failure of supervision and effective regulation. The CBN has wide powers to supervise and sanction errant banks if for any reason their officials were diverting the new notes.”

The statement therefore called on the CBN to release sufficient quantum of the new notes to meet the demand of Nigerians, and  ensure every old note that gets into the banking system is automatically withdrawn and not paid back to customers whether from automated teller machines or across the counter.

Similarly, Professor of the Capital Market Uche Uwaleke commended the CBN for extending the deadline.  

According to Uwaleke, the regulators’ action portrays it as a responsive organisation. 

With this decision, the President of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (CAMAN) Sunday said the long queues witnessed at banks’ ATM would greatly reduce as well as ease the uncertainty among businesses. 

Uwaleke stressed that having extended the deadline by 10 days, the CBN should ensure the banks strictly comply with its distribution guidelines for new notes. 

He said: “The extension of the deadline for notes swap by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) till February 10 2023 with additional 7 days grace period is a welcome development and portrays the CBN as a responsive organisation that is sensitive to the yearnings of Nigerians.

“One recalls that when the CBN first placed a cash withdrawal limit of N20,000 per individual per day, it saw the need to revise it upward to N100,000 following reports that the limit was too low and causing a lot of hardship to the people.

 “This deadline extension will reduce the queues at the ATM, reduce panic and uncertainty among small business owners in particular and more importantly allow more time for the new naira notes to circulate and more of the old ones returned to the CBN given that about N900 billion is still outside the banks as revealed by the CBN Governor.

“I commend the CBN for this move as well as the President for giving approval for an extension. It goes to demonstrate that the currency redesign was not designed abinitio to foist hardship on Nigerians.”

Uwaleke said the fact that the new deadline is before the February 25 election is laudable as the measure would help reduce vote buying.


And in a telephone chat Sunday, development consultant and executive director, OJA Development Consult, Jide Ojo, said the extension date for the new naira notes by 10 days is a welcome development because the tension has been very high. 

According to him, almost all the commercial offices have started rejecting the old naira notes before the due date and “I was also caught in the web at the filling station and also at the super market this morning.”

 He said it is more important that there is availability of the new naira notes, adding “if all the ATMs, POS and Banks have the new notes and they no longer give people the old notes, I am sure the money will be on circulation.”

He also urged the CBN “to ensure  the money retail outlets are able to get it seamlessly because without these it will cause a lot of agitations among everyone.”

In another reaction, former Secretary General of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), Owei Lakemfa, said “government has a way of problematizing simple issues. It, on its own volition, decided to change some currency notes and even fixed dates.” 

 He said the new notes were supposed to have started circulating since last year but as at last Thursday, banks were still trying to force the old notes on people. 

“All reasonable persons I know were advising the government to extend the deadline as the new notes were not in full circulation, but it refused until there was a near uprising in the country including the forced postponement of Buhari’s visit to Kano, before it bowed to pressures,” Lakemfa said.

In yet another reaction, Managing Director APT Securities and Fund Limited, Malam Garba Kurfi said the extension of deadline for deposit of old Naira notes is a good development.

In his explanation, he said: “To me, 10 days is good enough for bank customers deposit their money in the bank.”

He said the extension given to Nigerians to deposit their money at CBN after the currency had ceased to be a legal tender is an indication that the apex bank wanted to ensure it withdraws all the local currency outside the banking system.

Kurfi was optimistic that with the new timeframe given by the CBN, the new currency would be in circulation and the new date increase business activities in the financial system.

On his part, Chief Operating Officer Investdata Consulting Limited Ambrose Omorodion said the CBN decision to extend the deadline is a step in the right direction.

He said the step taken by CBN after discussing with Mr President Muhammad Buhari was an indication that the apex bank had human feeling and listen to the public outcry.

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