The Minister For Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria has only the legal autonomy to exchange, not mop up, the old currency.
In an interview with Arise News on Wednesday, February 22nd, he said, “The Central Bank clearly has powers under Section 23 to redesign currency, but that process is a swap, not to say, bring all your money. The law did not envisage that at all, and to that extent, it is outside the law.”
The former governor of Lagos state further explained, from his interpretation of the law in Section 23, that the Central Bank does have the autonomy to redesign and swap the currency, however, it has to be a gradual process where for every new note produced, it has to be exchanged with the old currency, until the old currency is taken out of circulation. However, this process was not followed, as the Central Bank instructed Nigerians to submit their old 1000, 500, and 200 Naira notes, while the new denominations were not fully circulated across the country. He stated, “It is one thing to have an authorization on the face of the letter of the law, and then proceed to do something that is contrarian to law.”