The old 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes will stop being accepted as legal tender in Nigeria as of January 31. The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that there is no going back on this date. Following the Tuesday meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele reaffirmed the central bank’s position. In addition, Emefiele argued that Nigerians had been given adequate time to exchange their old notes for new ones. He also said that since the three banknotes were changed, the number of kidnappings and ransom demands had decreased.
However, a lot of Nigerians have lamented the lack of availability and shortage of the new notes, criticizing banks for still handing out old naira notes to consumers as of today despite the deadline being just a few days away. As a result, the CBN launched a national currency swap operation to allow people in unbanked areas to exchange their old notes before the deadline of January 31 while excluding Lagos and Abuja mobile money/Point of Sales operators from the program to ensure that everyone is carried along.
To increase the circulation of the redesigned naira notes, the CBN recently instructed commercial banks to immediately suspend the over-the-counter withdrawal of the new notes and load their automated teller machines with them.