…Directs business owners to collect notes, says they remain legal tender
By Moses Adeniyi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has called on business owners, especially retailers, in the State to accept the old N500 and N1,000 notes – in line with the Supreme Court judgement that the currency remains legal tender until December 31, 2023.
Sanwo-Olu declared rejection of the old note as “illegal,” noting that there is no reason to reject the old notes, going by the Supreme Court judgement delivered on March 3, 2023.
Sanwo-Olu’s position was declared in a statement on Thursday signed by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Lagos, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, a copy of which was made available to NewsDirect.
Sanwo-Olu who noted the hardship sparked by the Naira redesign policy, which has affected business and commercial activities, called on all agencies of the Lagos State Government not to reject payments made with the old currency by the public.
The statement read: “The Lagos State Government has noted the hardship sparked by the Naira redesign policy, which has affected business and commercial activities.
“There is no reason to reject the old notes, going by the Supreme Court judgement delivered on March 3, 2023.
“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.
“The Court maintained that the policy has impeded the functions of State governments, pointing out that the directive that stops the use of the old notes is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has, therefore, called on business owners, especially retailers, to accept the old N500 and N1,000 notes – in line with the Supreme Court judgement that the currency remains legal tender until December 31, 2023. It is illegal to reject the notes.
“All agencies of the Lagos State Government are advised not to reject payments made with the old currency by the public.”
Nigerians have faced tough times from the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a development that saw the confiscation of cash from the masses.
Although the Supreme Court has ruled that the old notes remain legal tender and should circulate till 31st December, following a suit filed by State Governments, the CBN is yet to made to the public any directive issued to commercial banks on the status of the old notes, neither has any official declaration from President Muhammadu Buhari, a supporter of the implementation of the policy, come forth – a development that has left majority waiting in confusion.
Following the silence of both the Federal Government and the CBN, State Governments have threatened to file a suit of contempt of court against the duo should they ignore the court judgement.
Days after the Supreme Court Judgement, some banks issued the old notes to customers but refused to collect the notes for deposit, directing customers to follow the CBN’s directives.