Sanwo-Olu, Adeleke, others kick as Naira scarcity persists

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More state governors have expressed their displeasure over the continued scarcity of Naira notes and the rejection of the old N500, N1000 by businesses despite a subsisting order by the Supreme Court extending the validity of the old notes to December 31.

Recall that on March 3, the Supreme Court ordered that the old naira should continue to be used as legal tender until December 31.

In spite of the order, the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are yet to issue official announcements to the public indicating compliance.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state had Monday raised serious concerns over the rejection of the old N500 and N1000 by business owners and retailers, including fuel filling stations in the state.

A statement by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, reiterated that rejecting the old notes is illegal and contravened the March 3 Supreme Court ruling.

It reads: “The government notes the hardship sparked by the Naira redesign policy, which has affected business and commercial activities. But there is no reason to reject the old notes, going by the Supreme Court judgment delivered on March 3, 2023. All agencies of the Lagos State government are advised not to reject payments made with the old currency by the public.

“The apex court declared that “no reasonable notice was given as required by Section 20(3) of the CBN Act,” noting that the public only became aware of the policy through press remarks, which cannot qualify as a notice to the public.

“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged business owners, especially retailers, to accept the old N500 and N1,000 notes – in line with the Supreme Court judgment that the currency remains legal tender until December 31, 2023.

Also, his counterpart in Osun, Ademola Adeleke, argued several weeks after the Supreme Court rulings, that a number of commercial banks had refused to dispense and receive the old notes.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Olawale Rasheed, Adeleke lamented the pains and suffering of residents caused by the development.

The Governor thus called on the apex bank to direct all the commercial banks operating in the state to correct the errors.

“If banks will not accept old notes as deposits, they must stop issuing old notes for withdrawal. The current pain being inflicted on our people must stop”, Adeleke added.

Similarly, the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, also gave strong warning to business owners in the state rejecting old naira notes.

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