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Naira redesign: Businesses, shop owners, churches still reject old notes despite S/Court ruling

… Nigerians call out Buhari to address the nation

Not minding the Supreme Court ruling authorizing the continued use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 bank notes as legal tender, investigations have revealed that most Nigerians and businesses have continued to reject the old note. The major culprits in the rejection of the old naira notes include retail shop outlets and traders, shopping mulls, transporters and churches. It is not certain whether banks are accepting the old naira notes as many of them are known to have not opened their banking halls this Monday. Many of the banks had remained closed  for over a week now on the fear of been attacked by hoodlums.

It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had on Friday, March 2, 2023 ordered that the old naira notes should remain in circulation alongside the newly redesigned notes till the end of the year, shop owners, churches are rejecting the notes.

Although some Nigerians have commended the Supreme Court for its decision on naira redesign and the extension of the old notes to December 31, many still believe that there is the need  for President Mohammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the latest development.

They said this is necessary because he had authorized the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release only the old N200 back into circulation.

Speaking with our reporter, a Shop owner said he is not collecting the old notes because the President has not said anything after the court ruling.

He maintained that the silence of the President means a lot, adding that Nigerians needs to hear from him before accepting the old notes because he is still the commander in chief.

Also speaking, Mr Emmanuel Chinweoge Obasi told Daily Champion that he looked like the worst sinner in church because he wanted to use the money for offering.

” I am confused, they are still rejecting the old notes in my area. They said that CBN has not spoken. I went to church today with the old notes but looked like a great sinner. This is terrible,” he said.

A businessman, Mr Udofia Gabriel told Daily Champion that it is possible the old notes are no longer available.

He said that the notes may have been destroyed by the regulatory authorities as it is the norm following the introduction of the new notes.

To him, there is need for adequate regulations and governance in order not to plug Nigerians into more pains.

According to him, some banks allowed politicians to use them work against the good intentions of the CBN, adding that there should have been sanctions.

Daily Champion recalled that the CBN had in October 2022 announced the redesign of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, and asked Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023 when they would cease to be legal tender. The deadline was shifted to February 10 following difficulties obtaining the new notes.

Consequently, governors of Kaduna, Zamfara and Kogi states dragged the federal government and the CBN to the Supreme Court over the time limit, and the court gave an interim order suspending the February 10 deadline.

The three states were later joined by 13 other states bringing the total number of plaintiffs to 16, just as two other states took the side of the federal government.

Just last week, a seven-man panel of the apex court presided by Justice John Okoro, ruled that the old naira notes should circulate alongside the new notes until December 31.

The Supreme Court declared the Naira redesign policy invalid on the grounds that it was not done with due consultation and in line with constitutional provisions.

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

Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the judgment held that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot unilaterally take such a decision of currency redesign without consulting stakeholders which the plaintiffs are a part and to that extent his actions are invalid.

Agim, added that the CBN Governor’s meeting with the governors to explain the policy was not only an afterthought but also an admission that the federal government ought to have consulted the plaintiffs including other stakeholders before commencing the implementation of the policy.

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