Continuous use of the old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 till December 31, 2023 have been approved by the Abia State government.
The directive did not receive any compliance on its first day from shop owners and transporters, except few traders at the Ama Hausa market.
Abia government in a statement on Saturday signed by Chris Ezem, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, said the approval of the use of the old notes as legal tender was in accordance with the judgment of the Supreme Court which ruled in favour of applications brought before it by some State governments.
Abia State government in the statement said residents of the state were free to carry out their transactions using the old notes side-by-side with the new notes as stipulated by the Supreme Court ruling till December 31,2023.
The state government therefore warned individuals, groups or business owners against rejecting the old notes, saying doing so would attract sanctions,
The State government claimed rejecting the old naira notes contravened the Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The statement read,
“Further to the Supreme Court ruling extending the validity of the old 200,500 and 1000 naira notes as legal tender till December 31st 2023, Abia State Government advices Abians and residents in the State to feel free to carry out their financial transactions with the old naira notes alongside with the new notes as stipulated.
”Any individual, group, or business entity that rejects the old notes will be contravening the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and stand the risk of facing sanctions.”
“All should be properly guided.”
But when our correspondent went round Umuahia, the state capital by 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Saturday armed with some old notes, it was rejected by everyone he tried to transact with, especially, tricycle operators popularly known as Keke NAPEP and food stuff sellers.
They claimed they do not believe the news about the Abia State government’s directive. Even petrol station attendants at Umuwaya road and Aba road all insisted on new notes or electronic cash transfers for businesses.
One female fuel attendant at a fuel station along Umuwaya road said, “If I collect old naira and lose my job wetin I gain?”
The pump attendant said she can only comply with the directive if asked to do so by the owner of the petroleum facility.
Also, traders at Isi gate and Orie Ugba market rejected old N500 and N1000 but told the reporter to come back when CBN approves the money.
“I went to the bank on Wednesday in Umuahia and they paid me N10,000 with old N1000 denominations. Up till now I have not spent even N10 from the N10,000, and you are telling me to give you my goods”, said Mrs Nmachi Grace, a trader at popular Orie Ugba market.
However, some Northern traders at Ama Hausa market at Eket street in Umuahia who trade on foodstuff were seen accepting the old naira notes from traders only on the condition that the buyer must exhaust his N1000 or N500 on any commodity he or she desires to buy as “No change is given after every transaction.”