Buhari is set to extend the old naira notes deadline by 60 days
Glamtush reports that indications emerged Wednesday that President Muhammadu Buhari may order for extension of the validity of old naira notes by 60 days.
Recall that the Presidency had on Tuesday night said that the Federal Government had not taken a decision on the February 10 deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as the last date that the N200, N500 and N1000 old naira notes will cease to be recognized as legal tender.
The Presidency while responding to queries on the position of the federal government over the CBN February 10 deadline said that the government will take a decision after the determination of the suit instituted by the governors of Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara states at the Supreme Court against the government, praying for an extension of the deadline.
Vanguard reliably gathered that President Buhari at the early hours of Wednesday met with the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the State House Abuja.
Though the agenda of the meeting was not made public, presidential sources hinted that it was not unconnected to the naira redesign policy of the federal government and the need to extend the deadline for the naira swap.
One of the sources that pleaded unanimity said that the APC Presidential candidate had pleaded with the president to reconsider the naira redesign policy with regard to the deadline given by the nation’s apex court.
The source said that President Buhari did not make any declarative statement at the meeting but promised to meet with the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele on the matter.
It was further gathered that the issue was also discussed at the Federal Executive Council meeting and the ministers were divided on it.
However, TheCable has reported that President Buhari was considering extending the deadline for the naira swap to avoid disobeying the order of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which ruled that the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes remain valid until it delivers judgment in the case filed by some states against the federal government.
The CBN had insisted that the deadline of February 10 would not be changed but a senior government official told the online platform that Buhari was worried about the hardship faced by Nigerians as well as the legal implications of disobeying the order of the constitutional court.
According to TheCable, the official said that consideration for the extension of the naira swap deadline was the focus of a meeting between Buhari and the leadership of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) as well as the Progressives Governors Forum until the early hours of Wednesday.
It reported that the governors were then expected to withdraw their case at the apex court.
“The resolve was to give room for President Buhari to make concessions on the monetary policy and make the following announcements public,” TheCable quoted the official.
“One, that the old naira notes of N1,000, N500 and N200 be allowed free movement in and out of the banks for the next 60 days.
“Two, that all three notes will be legal tender during this period, but that any old N500 or N1000 that goes into a bank will not be sent back into circulation.”
The official said that while others were “on the same page with the president”, Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, insisted on total cancellation of the policy.
Buhari, who had earlier delayed attending the federal executive council (FEC) meeting by 40 minutes to monitor the development at the Supreme Court, was disappointed that the governors reneged on their promise to withdraw the case.
He had, after the meeting Wednesday, met with Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, and Modibbo Tukur, the director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), on the need to allow all old notes circulate in the system to ease hardship on ordinary Nigerians.
“The president will not disobey court. But he is also concerned about the suffering of Nigerians and wants to find lasting solution to it,”
“It is clear that some militancy is being propagated against the people by elite who have the means to secure the new notes no matter what while the people continue to suffer.
“The president will continue to engage and see the way out of the logjam.”