The Ekiti State Government has warned citizens of their states not to reject the old naira notes as means of transaction in line with the Supreme Court judgement otherwise they would be arrested and face prosecution.

The Abia State Government also threatened to sanction anyone found rejecting the old notes.

Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, gave the warning in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, on Saturday.

Oyebanji said, “Banks are to make the naira notes available in all their branches and pay points and to all traders, business owners, service providers, okada riders, drivers, filling stations, gas plants, supermarkets, schools, hospitals, POS operators, to start accepting the old notes forthwith.

“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. The government will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute business owners found rejecting the old naira notes.

 “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 31st.”

Similarly, the Abia State Government, in a statement on Saturday by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem, threatened to sanction any person, group, or business entity that rejects the old 500 and 1,000 naira notes for business transactions.

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Ezem stated that the decision was in line with the Supreme Court ruling extending the validity of the old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes as legal tender to December 31.

He stated, “Abia State Government advises Abia residents to feel free to carry out their financial transactions with the old naira notes alongside the new notes as stipulated. Any individual, group or business entity that rejects the old notes will be contravening the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and stands the risk of facing sanctions.”

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State government has called on business operators, banks, traders, and transporters in the state to obey the Supreme Court ruling directing that the old notes circulate with the new notes till the stipulated date.

This was announced in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Ayibaina Duba, on Saturday.

He said the government came up with the 24 hours ultimatum after some residents of the state capital, Yenagoa, staged a peaceful protest against the rejection of the old N1,000 and N500 notes by businesses, banks, filling stations, eateries, traders and transporters in the state.

Duba said, “The government, therefore, urges business operators in the state, particularly banks, traders, and keke (tricycle) to take into consideration the Supreme Court ruling in order to reduce the pains of people of the state.

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“While the state government is not against the naira redesign policy of the CBN or the Federal Government, it is however not comfortable with the method of its implementation that has resulted in further hardship on people of the state and, indeed, the country.”

Meanwhile, residents of Osogbo in Osun State have decried their inability to spend the old N500 and N1,000 denominations in spite of the Supreme Court’s judgement.

Residents who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday expressed their happiness with the judgment but stated their disappointment when traders refused to accept the money.

A civil servant, Mr Adejare Agunloye, said he withdrew N10,000 old notes through the Automated Teller Machine but was disappointed when traders refused to collect the money from him.

Another resident, Mrs Ayoade Usman, said she almost got into a fight with some traders when they refused to collect the money from her.

She said, “I was angry after I wanted to buy pepper and meat and other food items, and these people said they are not collecting the old notes. This is the money that the Supreme Court said remains a legal tender till December 31 and this is the same money these traders are refusing to collect. So, what is the essence of collecting the old naira notes from the banks, if business operators and traders will not collect them?”

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Similarly, some Lagos residents have expressed regrets for collecting the old N500 and N1,000 notes from commercial banks.

A student of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Mr Matthew Aburime, told NAN that the money was rejected by both traders and commercial bus drivers.

He said, “A nearby bank was paying old notes and since it was from a commercial bank, I felt they would pay based on the instruction of the CBN. Then, I went and join the queue. Eventually, I was able to withdraw N10,000 from the bank.

“As we speak, the money is still with me, I have not been able to spend it; the first rejection was from a commercial bus driver.”

A trader, Mr Daniel Okpulonu, also lamented, “When I realised that these old notes that I was receiving from my bank were not legal tender was when a bank official announced that people who had received the old notes should not bother bringing it back to deposit, as it would not be acceptable.

“As we speak, I am still going about with the money, looking out for where I can spend it, all to no avail. This is not good enough, the government should come out and tell us what they want from us. Nigerians have suffered enough since the inception of this policy.”

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