The recent effort by several Deposit Money Banks to reissue old N500 and N1,000 notes was thwarted on Tuesday when motorists, gas stations, shops, dealers, and other types of bank clients refused to accept the outdated notes.
Around 48 hours had passed since some commercial banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, and Sterling Bank, started issuing the contentious N500 and N1,000 notes throughout their branches in important Nigerian towns.
After a Supreme Court ruling last week allowing the use of old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes as lawful tender for 10 months, commercial banks decided to reissue the old notes.
The old naira notes shall be permitted to circulate alongside the new ones until December 31, 2023, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
The Federal Government’s strategy of naira redesign, according to the court, was in violation of the 1999 Constitution.
The PUNCH discovered on Tuesday, however, that important bank customer groups have begun to reject the recycled old N500 and N1,000 notes.
The majority of them based their defenses on the fact that, with the exception of the old N200 note, the CBN, which regulates the banking industry, had not yet authorized the use of the old notes as legal money.
Oil marketers kick
In Abuja, Nasarawa, and Niger States, oil marketers on Tuesday refused to take the old N500 and N1,000 notes from consumers, claiming that Deposit Money Banks had not yet given them the go-ahead to do so.
Despite the directive from the Supreme Court and the Central Bank of Nigeria, some gas stations, particularly those run by independent oil marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, refused to take the old naira notes on Tuesday.
The employees at the filling station at the NNPC Limited retail shop in Nyanya, a significant border town between Abuja and Nasarawa State, claimed they had not yet received instructions from their supervisors regarding accepting the old notes.
The attendants at the Khalif filling station in Kubwa, Abuja, run by an independent marketer, claimed they would not accept old naira bills and advised clients to pay using bank transfers or a Point of Sale Service machine instead.
Aside from gas stations, it was noted that the majority of merchants in the nation’s capital and its neighboring states had not yet begun taking the old notes.
“We’re anticipating the presidential order. The President is still silent. But, if the banks instruct us to collect the old notes, we will of course take them, according to Mohammed Shuaibu, Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja.
But as of right moment, we haven’t received any formal confirmation, he continued. Only people are saying it to us. I guarantee you that we will easily comply whenever the banks instruct our members to accept it.
“We’ve heard that banks have begun dispensing the old notes, but I haven’t seen the old N500 and N1,000 notes until just now, as I’m speaking to you. It is all we are hearing.
Shuaibu acknowledged that marketers were aware of the Supreme Court’s ruling, but he argued that the president had ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to return the old bills to the banks.
Well, as marketers, we want the economy to continue to grow smoothly and are willing to work with them if they have decided that the money should be utilized for that purpose. Yet, as things stand, I don’t believe the banks have instructed their clients to deliver the old notes.
The IPMAN officer said, “I have not heard of such, nor have I seen it, and I do not know where they would produce the money, for we were told that the presidential directive was that they should burn the old notes.
Also, a few of traders have not yet agreed to accept the old N500 and N1000 notes.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the old currency’s validity as a legal form of payment, motorists, traders, and supermarkets along the Alagbole-Akute axis of Ogun State refused to take the old naira notes.
The trader, who went by the name Bukola Vivian, explained to our correspondent that Nigerians are more likely to heed CBN instructions than court judgments, which is why the old naira notes were rejected.
“Ever since this naira mess started, people have listened to what CBN says, and now the CBN has not declared the previous notes should be accepted,” she remarked. They would reject it if I tried to offer them old notes as change now.
Ojodu Abiodun, a sales manager at JustRite Superstores who declined to give his name in conversation with The PUNCH, said the retail behemoth was also not accepting the old notes.