The House of Representatives has rejected the Central Bank of Nigeria’s announcement on Sunday of a February 10 deadline for the phase-out of obsolete currency notes.
On Sunday, the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on New Naira Re-design and Naira Swap Policy described the new date as a mere political ploy to deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social well-being.
The revelation occurred as outrage about the paucity of the new notes spread across the country, leaving some bank clients trapped owing to a lack of access to the new notes. Retailers and traders have begun rejecting the old notes, and ATM facilities around the country have seen lengthy lines.
However, in announcing the new deadline for the phase-out of the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes on Sunday, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele stated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), granted permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10 following their recent meeting.
He also extended the deadline for Nigerians to deposit their old naira notes, which will no longer be legal tender on February 10. The CBN had set January 31 as the deadline for exchanging old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes.
Despite harsh criticism and strong pressure from the National Assembly, lawmakers, banks, consumers, and key stakeholders prior to extending the deadline, the apex bank refused to change positions.
The CBN governor had also failed to appear before the House four times, prompting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Tuesday, to declare his readiness to issue a warrant of arrest against him if he fails to appear before its committee last Thursday.
Gbajabiamila said the lawmakers would reconvene on Tuesday (tomorrow) to take an action against Emefiele and other bank chiefs who failed to honour the house’s summons.