Saturday, April 13, 2024

Nigeria: Court halts deadline to swap banknotes amid chaotic scenes

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has halted the government’s plan to enforce a Friday deadline for citizens to swap old banknotes for new ones.

The government had expected Nigerians to turn in old 1,000, 500 and 200 naira banknotes in exchange for newly designed notes by Friday.

The central bank wanted the initiative to curb cash in circulation and control double-digit inflation.

But the International Monetary Fund has already flagged disruptions to trade and payments as chaotic scenes greet several banks and ATM centers.

The chaos is also creating concerns ahead of the country’s general elections on February 25 as campaigns are funded by mostly hard to trace cash.

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Supreme Court Judge John Inyang Okoro said the decision to suspend the deadline was unanimous, pending a legal challenge from three states who had argued that the note swap plan was causing hardship ahead of the elections.

The court though would hear the states’ challenge on Feb. 15.

About 1.3 trillion naira ($2.8 billion) in old notes had been deposited into the bank since the announcement in October last year, according to the bank.

The deadline to exchange the money was supposed to have been ending of last month, but it was extended by 10 days to give more people in rural areas time to get the new notes, the central bank’s governor had said.

Nigeria’s President to deal with cash crunch ahead of exchange deadline


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