There were sighs of relief on Tuesday over the return of the old N500 and N1000 notes to markets in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and some other parts of the country.
The development was sequel to the directive issued on Monday by the Central Bank of Nigeria, asking Deposit Money Banks to receive and dispense the old Naira notes in obedience to the Supreme Court order.
DAILY POST recalls that the CBN in a move to implement its cashless policy, had redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes.
The swapping of the old for the new notes had stimulated controversies, with violent protests across the country over inefficient new notes.
The deadline for the use of the old notes elapsed on February 10, causing unprecedented queues at bank premises as Nigerians struggled for the new notes.
In a swift move to curtail the violence emanating from the naira scarcity, President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 16 ordered the return of old N200 notes, while N500 and N1000 notes remain illegal.
Prior to Buhari’s nationwide broadcast that relatively suppressed the anger exhibited by bank customers, some governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had dragged the Federal Government to the Supreme Court in a bid to return the old notes and alleviate the sufferings of the masses.
The governors believed the policy was part of alleged conspiracy against the presidential candidate of the party and currently the president-elect, Bola Tinubu
In its ruling, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered that the old Naira notes must remain in circulation till December 31 this year.
The Apex Court ordered the CBN to allow both the old Naira notes and the new ones to circulate side by side till the end of the year.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele bowed to pressure on Monday night and okayed the recirculation of the old notes in compliance with order of the apex court.
DAILY POST observed on Tuesday that the notes which returned to market, particularly in FCT is gaining acceptance by traders.
In Bwari and Dutse markets, many persons were seen on Tuesday transacting with the old notes.
DAILY POST’s survey revealed increasing acceptance of the old notes among Nigerians, while rejection persisted in some segments, especially among transporters.
Some commercial banks visited by DAILY POST in Abuja, including the United Bank for Africa, UBA, and Zenith Bank were sighted paying customers the old notes.
A staff of one of the banks, who spoke with DAILY POST on condition of anonymity, said CBN may not return the notes in its custody.
“The problem is not really about obeying the Supreme Court order. The question is, will the CBN release the old notes? I don’t see that happening.
“Of course people who have the notes will be allowed to make transactions with it but it will still not be enough.
“The truth is, the cashless policy is here to stay; we just have to understand this and get used to it. You won’t have cash again like before”, she said.