The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday said that the 31 January deadline it announced for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes remains.

Mr Emefiele made this known while addressing journalists after the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

Speaking on the new notes, Mr Emefiele claimed that kidnapping and ransom-taking incidents have reduced since the three banknotes were redesigned. He also argued that the time given for the swap of the old naira notes with new ones was enough for Nigerians to get the new notes from commercial banks.

“I must say here that unfortunately, I don’t have good news for those who feel that we should shift the deadline. My apologies,” Mr Emefiele said.

“The reason is because 90 days, we feel it’s 100 days, should be enough for those who have the old currency to deposit it, the money, in the banks. And we took every measure to ensure that all the banks were open to receive all old currencies. 100 days, we believe, is more than adequate.”

Last November, weeks after the apex bank announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes as the apex bank fixed the January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

Since the notes were introduced, many Nigerians on social media have expressed reservations about the circulation of the new notes. While many claim that they are yet to see the new naira notes, others complain of hoarding on the part of the deposit money banks even as the January 31 deadline for the rejection of the old notes approaches.

Last week, as part of measures to deepen circulation, the CBN warned banks to load their ATMs with the new notes and threatened to sanction erring banks. The CBN also recently directed commercial banks to halt over-the-counter payment of the old notes and load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the redesigned naira notes to boost circulation.

Similarly, the apex bank also launched a cash swap programme nationwide to enable those in unbanked areas to exchange their old notes for new notes before the 31 January deadline.

However, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the weekend set up a six-member committee to engage the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address anomalies in the country’s monetary management and financial system, especially in the issuance of new Naira notes.

The committee, according to a communique signed by NGF Chairman, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, is chaired by the Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, with governors of Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Borno, Plateau and Jigawa states as members.

The governors said that while they were not opposed to the objectives of the Naira redesign policy, the apex bank should consider the peculiarities of households and states, especially pertaining to financial inclusion and under-served locations.