Nigerian President Barred From Extending Old Naira Banknote Demonetization Deadline

With just a few days left before the old naira banknotes are demonetized on Feb. 10 as scheduled, a court in Nigeria has blocked the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, and the central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, from further extending the deadline. Opponents of the central bank’s old naira demonetization plan have asked Buhari and Emefiele to extend the deadline again.

CBN Asked to Extend Demonetization Deadline Again

A Nigerian High Court recently issued a restraining order that stops the country’s president Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele from further extending the old naira demonetization deadline, a report has said. In the order, the court’s Eneojo Eneche reportedly said the duo, along with 27 commercial banks, must not extend or interfere “with the currency redesign terminal date of February 10 or issue any directive contrary to the February 10 date.”

According to a report, the restraining order was issued after four Nigerian political parties sought the court’s help in blocking the potential extension of the currency swap deadline by the central bank. As recently reported by News, the CBN extended the demonetization deadline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10 in response to pleas by several pressure groups and politicians.

Still, many people in Nigeria insist that the ten extra days extra are not enough and have lobbied for an even longer extension. Others like the governors of three Nigerian states — Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara — have filed an application with the country’s supreme court which seeks to stop the CBN from proceeding with the planned demonetization of the old naira banknotes. However, supporters of the CBN’s so-called currency redesign policy — including the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) — reportedly want the central bank to proceed as planned.

Naira Shortage Crisis

Meanwhile, another publication, Sahara Reporters, said President Buhari had recently discussed the new naira banknotes shortages with Emefiele and Abdulrasheed Bawa, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Nigerian leader also reportedly talked with the heads of Nigeria’s governor unions.

In addition to protests at banks, Nigerians opposed to the CBN’s naira policy have reportedly vandalized automated teller machines. Bank branches in some of the volatile regions in the country have been forced to halt operations.

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