Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, has issued a warning to traders and service providers who reject the old N500 and N1000 denominations, stating that they will be arrested and prosecuted. The Governor made this statement through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Yinka Olubode, on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti.
The Governor appealed to traders and business owners in the state to stop creating hardship for residents, and to accept the old naira notes as they remain legal tender by virtue of the ruling of the Supreme Court, which extended their validity date until December 31st.
The Governor explained that his office had received numerous complaints from the people due to the low circulation of the newly redesigned Naira notes. He said that the refusal of many business owners in the state to accept the old naira notes was unlawful and that the Supreme Court had extended the validity date for the old naira notes in a case instituted by some states, including Ekiti.
“As honorable people, what is expected of us is to abide by the ruling of the apex court and continue to accept the old naira notes as means of transactions and not to inflict further hardship on one another by rejecting it,” the statement quoted Governor Oyebanji as saying.
The Governor further added that his administration would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute business owners found rejecting the old naira notes. However, he assured that his administration would continue to explore avenues to make life more meaningful for the people, as it continues to build a more prosperous state.
The Governor appealed to market women and men, artisans, transporters, filling stations, supermarket owners, and school proprietors, as well as service providers, to remain law-abiding and accept the old naira notes. He also urged commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria to make the old and new currencies available in their branches and at their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) points to ease the stress residents go through to get money for their daily and commercial needs.
This move by the Governor is a welcome one as it will help to ease the financial burden on residents of Ekiti state, who have been struggling with the low circulation of the newly redesigned Naira notes. It also serves as a reminder to traders and business owners that they have a legal obligation to accept the old naira notes as means of transactions until December 31st.