Nigeria: CBN's Silence - Motorists, SMEs, Stores Reject Old Naira Notes

Several traders, motorists, Small and Medium Enterprise(SME) vendors and micro-sector operators are yet to come to terms with accepting the old N500 and N1000 notes despite the order of the Supreme Court stating that the old Notes remains legal tender.

This stance is basically as a result of the Central Bank of Nigeria's continuing silence on whether the apex court ruling will be upheld.

This is even as supermarket, retail stores and quick service restaurants have rejected the old notes from shoppers as observed by LEADERSHIP.

Meanwhile, banks continued to pay the old N500 and N1000 notes across their counters.

Checks by LEADERSHIP, revealed that, around the Abulegba-Fagba and Meiran axis, motorists, traders and supermarkets had refused to accept the old naira notes due to the confusion surrounding the status of the old currency as a valid means of exchange.

A trader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told LEADERSHIP correspondent that the reason behind the rejection of the old naira notes is that Nigerians are more inclined to listening to the directives of the CBN, rather than court rulings.

She said: "Ever since this naira thing started, it is what CBN says that people have listened to, and now the CBN has not said the old notes should be accepted. If I collect old notes now, I can't give it as change because other people will reject it."

Speaking to LEADERSHIP, a Sales representative at SPA Opebi, Allen Axis, Bukola said, the retail giant was also not accepting the old notes. Meanwhile JustRite at Abulegba also rejected the old notes completely from shoppers.

The source said: "The truth is that not many people have even brought the old notes. Many of the customers here are paying with their cards. We don't know the status of the old notes for now, so it wouldn't be wise to start accepting them from customers."

Transport operators in the axis were not also accepting the old notes from their commuters, insisting that payments should either be done in new notes or via transfers.

Also, market women at Arepo community in Ogun State, rejected the new notes.

A trader who gave her name only as Iya Tope said, "I can't collect the old notes because Buhari is yet to say anything. The last time they (Supreme Court) said we should collect it and we did, it was what Buhari said that was obeyed and I can't run at a loss."

Another market woman, Ireti Shobowale, said, she was still awaiting the president's directive to know whether to accept it or not.

Also, traders and motorists in the Federal Capital Territory rejected the old N500 and N1,000 notes from customers despite the Supreme Court's order.

An Abuja taxi driver, Ndubuisi Egbo, said he rejected the old notes from two persons that boarded his vehicle because he was not sure anyone would accept it from him.

Similarly, a corn seller, who simply gave her name as Rose said until she would not accept the old notes unless the CBN gave a directive on the matter.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, Dr Adams Adebayo, lamented the situation.

He said: "It's disheartening that despite the pronouncements of the Supreme Court on Friday 3rd of March, 2023, traders and the general public are still rejecting the old N500 and N1000. Many business operators especially filling stations are rejecting the old notes.

"Now, banks are issuing out old notes and the public are rejecting them because there wasn't any pronouncements from the apex bank. It appears the banking system has orchestrated a total collapse of the economy with the attitude of sit down and look played by the apex bank."

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