Naira Crisis Worsens: Emefiele Adamant as Protests Rock Cities

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On Tuesday, the situation surrounding the redesign of Nigeria's currency, the naira, worsened when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) failed to clarify whether the old notes were still considered legal tender.

New Naira Note by Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele. ATM
New Naira Note by Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele. ATM

This created more confusion across the country, as banks, filling stations, and traders refused to accept the old currency. At the same time, a shortage of new notes continued in several states and the Federal Capital Territory.

During a meeting with members of the diplomatic community in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced that the deadline for phasing out the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes would not be extended, despite concerns generated by a Supreme Court order suspending the February 10 deadline.

Some state governors had filed a suit that was scheduled for a hearing on February 15, but the CBN governor stated that the apex bank would not extend the deadline, even though many Nigerians believed that the old notes would remain legal tender until the Supreme Court suit was determined.

There were widespread protests in certain areas of the country as customers were denied acceptance of old notes by commercial banks, petrol stations and traders. In Abeokuta, Sango-Ota in Ogun State, and Akure in Ondo State, hundreds of furious citizens protested against the CBN's decision to withdraw old notes without providing an adequate supply of new notes.

Meanwhile, a group in Abuja organized a street protest in favor of the CBN policy, but were attacked by street urchins who were angered by their demonstration.

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