Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Thursday decried the rejection of old naira notes by traders and business owners in the state.
In a statewide broadcast in Akure, the governor said the rejection of the old naira notes was a flagrant disobedience of the law. He explained that rejecting the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes would inflict needless pain on the residents.
According to him, “It is imperative that I address you today because of the need to halt a self-induced pain currently being experienced by us all in the state. This is on account of the circulation and use of the old naira notes in our economy.
“It is of great concern to me, that a large section of our people in the state, particularly traders in our markets, taxi and bus drivers, barbers, auto mechanics and artisans are rejecting the old naira notes thereby inflicting and sustaining a needless pain on their fellow citizens and customers.
“This is unfortunate and unexpected. It is a flagrant disobedience to the law and the Central Bank directives. I, therefore, wish to inform you that the rejection of the old N1000, N500 and N200 notes by us will do us no good.
” It will stifle our local trade and business transactions, weaken our economy and cause us great harm and avoidable troubles. I hereby use this opportunity to appeal to you all, my good people of Ondo State, to embrace and accept the old notes alongside the new notes as stipulated by law.
“Let us not create a needless tension over the matter. Please collect, spend and exchange the old notes without let or hindrance,” he said.
Akeredolu noted that the matter of legitimacy and return into circulation of all old naira notes in the nation’s economy had been settled permanently by the Supreme Court.
According to him, the apex court has ruled that the old naira notes must remain a legal tender.
“The implication of the Supreme Court judgement is that it removes the daily pain, discomfort and trauma being faced by the people of this country occasioned by the scarcity of the new notes.
“It is also geared towards ensuring stability, strength and vitality for our economy, particularly the informal economy which involves, on daily basis, the largest number of our people at the grassroots.
“If we may recall that from the onset of the Federal Government’s policy of Naira swap, our position as a state, was clear and unambiguous. We not only condemned the idea and process of implementation of the policy, we also canvassed for its total abrogation, given its timing and methodology.
“We insisted on the need for the Federal Government to resolve the introduction of the cashless policy in favour of the common man. We did this because we believe the fundamental objective of Government must be to see to the welfare and security of the people at all times.
“It is not to inflict or add more to their pains. We believe the people must be happy and free to live their lives legitimately without any pain, discomfort or trauma,” he added.
The governor also commended Commercial Banks in the state for receiving and paying with the old notes.
He appealed to the Banks to increase the circulation of all currencies at their disposal and devise more effective ways to decongest the banks, especially at the ATM points.
Akeredolu urged media organisations in the state, traditional rulers and opinion molders to assist government in educating the people, especially at the grassroots, on the need to embrace and accept the old naira notes.