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Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji has told the people of his state to accept the old naira notes (N200, N500 and N1,000) as legal tender in compliance with the judgement of the Supreme Court, till December 31, 2023.

This was revealed in a statement released by a spokesperson of the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, on Saturday.

The statement titled: “Oyebanji urges Ekiti residents to accept old naira notes’, persuaded businesses in the state to maintain law and order and welcome old naira notes as legal tender.

The Governor appealed to commercial banks to make the naira notes available for residents of the state.

“To do otherwise would amount to defying the ruling of the highest court in the country and thwarting government efforts at reducing the hardship of the people,” he said.

He added that the government will arrest and prosecute owners of business who refuse to accept the old naira notes.

He said rejection of the old naira notes is unlawful.

Oyebanji said, “This is an appeal to all residents of Ekiti State to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court, which provides a reprieve for the people by extending the validity date of the old naira notes till December 31.

“The state government had joined other states to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court in reversing the new naira policy, which the states averred had inflicted excruciating pain and hardship on the people in addition to crippling economic activities.”

The Informant247 earlier reported that the Supreme Court ruled that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes should remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.

The apex court also condemned the naira redesign policy, and described it as an affront to the 1999 Constitution.

The apex court admitted that the cashless policy has made people adopt trade by barter in this new age in an attempt to survive.

The court described the disobedience of the president to the February 8 order of the court as a sign of dictatorship.

The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu also condemned the manner many traders and business persons were rejecting the old naira notes in the state.

The Governor revealed that the rejection of the old naira notes, N200, N500 and N1,000 will cause needless hardship and agony on the people of the state.

He also said the issue of whether the people should accept the old naira notes or not, has been settled by the Supreme Court.

The Governor admonished the people to obey the ruling of the apex court, which declares old naira notes legal tender till December 31, 2023.

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 N1,000, N500 and N200 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.”

The Governor implored relevant stakeholders to educate the people, especially those at the grassroots to accept the old naira notes.

His words: ”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.

“If we may recall that from the onset of the Federal Government’s policy of Naira swap, our position as a state, was clear and unambiguous. We not only condemned the idea and process of implementation of the policy, we also canvassed for its total abrogation, given its timing and methodology.

“We insisted on the need for the Federal Government to resolve the introduction of the cashless policy in favour of the common man. We did this because we believe the fundamental objective of Government must be to see to the welfare and security of the people at all times.

“It is not to inflict or add more to their pains. We believe the people must be happy and free to live their lives legitimately without any pain, discomfort or trauma.“

The Kogi State government also revealed its plan to shut any commercial bank, arrest and prosecute anyone that refuses to collect the old naira notes in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Femi Fanwo, made this revelation in a statement released on Friday March 10 in Lokoja, the capital of the state.

The state government ordered residents to report anyone who refuses to accept the old naira notes for transactions, to the security and relevant government authorities for necessary steps.

The state government said: “The state government will not accommodate financial institutions that willfully disobey court orders, moreso, the orders of the highest court in Nigeria.

“The reason the Kogi State Government joined other state governments in the country to pursue the case to ease the hardship occasioned by the unavailability of the new naira notes, which the court fully granted.

“It is therefore unacceptable that some persons and businesses will continue to reject the use of the old naira notes, even after the court judgement validating their use.

“Rejecting the old naira notes is a clear disobedience of the Supreme Court ruling. Anyone who rejects the old naira notes should be reported to security and government authorities for immediate action,” the statement added.

The state government referred to the judgement of the Supreme Court as a welcome development.

“What this means is that both the old and new naira notes can be accepted for the purpose of transacting business till the end of this year.

“Kogites should note that since the banks are issuing the old naira notes, they are bound to also receive it.

“We cannot continue to kill our economy after the Supreme Court has granted us freedom,” it said.

The state government has established a committee to effect full obedience to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the state.

The state government revealed that, “the committee is to ensure that our people take full benefits of the Supreme Court ruling on the old naira notes and ease the hardship they have been subjected to by the policy that brought so much hardship to the people”.

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