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Nigeria’s central bank says old naira notes still legal tender

Cash shortages have plagued Africa’s largest economy since the start of the year following a CBN directive.

Nigeria’s central bank will allow old banknotes to remain as legal tender until the end of the year to comply with a court order issued earlier this month, a statement said late Monday.

On March 3, the Supreme Court ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the use of old 1,000 ($2.17), 500 and 200 naira banknotes until December 31. causes widespread hardship and anger.

CBN said it was complying with the law and that the old notes would circulate with new ones of equal value. Earlier, on Monday evening, a statement from the Nigerian presidency said that President Muhammadu Buhari did not urge the CBN not to follow the court order.

“The CBN has no reason not to follow court orders under the excuse of waiting for directives from the president,” it said.

In a country where most people rely on cash for everything from buying food at markets to taxi fares, the shortage of naira notes has enraged citizens, a few of whom have attacked banks and set fire to ATMs.