Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, on Thursday, decried the rejection of old naira notes by a large section of traders and business owners in the state.
The governor said the rejection of the old N1,000 and N500 notes was a flagrant disobedience to the law.
Akeredolu in a statewide broadcast explained that rejecting the old naira notes would inflict and sustain a needless pain on the people and customers, noting that the matter of legitimacy and return into circulation of all old naira notes in the nation’s economy had been settled permanently by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
According to the him, the apex court had ruled that the old currency notes must remain as a legal tender in exchange of goods and services in the nation, appealing to the people to embrace and accept the old notes alongside the new notes as stipulated by law.
Akeredolu also commended commercial banks within the state for receiving and paying with the old notes, appealing to the banks to increase the circulation of all currencies at their disposals and devise a more effective way to decongest the banks, especially at the ATM cash points.
He said: “It is therefore of great concern to me today, that a large section of our people in the state, particularly traders in our markets, taxi and bus drivers, barbers, auto mechanics and artisans are rejecting the old naira notes thereby inflicting and sustaining a needless pain on their fellow citizens and customers. This is unfortunate and unexpected. It is a flagrant disobedience to the law and the central bank directives.
“I, therefore, wish to inform you that the rejection of the old one thousand naira, five hundred naira and two-hundred-naira notes by us will do us no good. It will stifle our local trade and business transactions, weaken our economy and cause us great harm and avoidable troubles.
“I hereby use this opportunity to appeal to you all, my good people of Ondo State, to embrace and accept the old notes alongside the new notes as stipulated by law. Let us not create a needless tension over the matter. Please collect, spend and exchange the old notes without let or hindrance,” he stressed.
He urged all media organisations in the state, as well as all traditional rulers, community leaders and opinion molders to assist government in educating the people, especially at the grassroots on the need to embrace and accept the old naira notes.
The governor added: “It is imperative that I address you today because of the need to halt a self-induced pain currently being experienced by us all in the state. This is on account of the circulation and use of the old naira notes in our economy.
“Credible information reaching me indicates that quite a large number of residents of the state are denied the use of the old currency notes issued by the Central bank of Nigeria.
“This comes in form of rejection of the old notes as legal tender and means of exchange for goods and services particularly by traders, artisans, transporters, farmers and a large percentage of the operators of the informal sector of our economy in Ondo State. This development is unfortunate, undesirable and uncalled for. This is because the matter of legitimacy and return into circulation of all old naira notes in the nation’s economy has been settled permanently by the Supreme Court of Nigeria and also backed up by the appropriate instruments of implementation by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Our people will recall that the apex court in its recent judgement had among others, ruled that the old currency notes must remain as a legal tender in exchange of goods and services in the nation.
“For avoidance of doubt, the judgment ordered that both the new and old notes should not only coexist but be accepted and used side by side by all Nigerians until the end of this year when the proper elimination and substitution of the old currency notes would have been completed.
“The implication of the Supreme Court judgement is that it removes the daily pain, discomfort and trauma being faced by the people of this country occasioned by the scarcity of the new notes.
“It is also geared towards ensuring stability, strength and vitality for our economy, particularly the informal economy which involves, on daily basis, the largest number of our people at the grassroots.”
Fidelis David in Akure