The Nigerian Supreme Court has reviewed an earlier order that old bank notes should cease to be legal tender by the last day of December 2023, so their validity has now been extended as a trading currency.
Last week the court extended the lifespan of the redesigned 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes, until they are replaced.
This is the second time the Supreme Court has extended the lifespan of the old naira notes following a botched currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In October last year, the CBN began the currency swap policy that caused monumental hardship for Nigerians, complicating trading across the country.
To ameliorate the difficulties, many states’ governments sued the federal government, urging the Supreme Court to reverse the monetary policy.
With the deadline for the affected notes nearing, the federal government in turn approached the Supreme Court for another extension of the notes’ validity.
A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led in March ordered the CBN to continue to receive the old notes from Nigerians until 31 December.
The court had held that the directive of then President Muhammadu Buhari for the redesign of the new notes and withdrawal of the old notes without due consultation was invalid.
Emmanuel Agim, a member of the panel who read the lead judgement, also condemned the President's disobedience of the court's February 8 order that the old notes should be in use.
At last Wednesday's proceedings, the Supreme Court panel ruled that the old notes would co-exist as legal tender with the redesigned ones.
The old versions of 200, 500 and a 1000 naira shall continue as legal tenders alongside the new versions until the government decides to bring the circulation of the old versions to an end, but only after consultation with critical stakeholders and once all required structures are in place.
Former President Buhari and ex-CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had stubbornly pursued the naira redesign policy in flagrant disregard for the Supreme Court order halting it.
Earlier last month, the CBN announced "its desire to extend the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, ad infinitum.