Lagos To Sanction Businesses Rejecting Old Naira Banknotes

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that any business operating in the state, that rejects old Naira banknotes, would be heavily sanctioned.

NewsNGR earlier reported that the Governor on Sunday, directed all agencies of the state government not to reject payments made with old Naira banknotes by members of the public.

On March 3, the Supreme Court had nullified the ban on use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes as legal tender.

In a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel of Justices, the court had ordered that the old banknotes shall continue to be used alongside the new banknotes till December 31, 2023.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had redesigned the N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, and set January 31 as deadline for their legal tender status. But had to extend the deadline by 10 days (February 10) to allow for circulation of the new banknotes and mop up the old ones.

However, as a result of the challenges people are facing to access the new banknotes, governors of three All Progressives Congress -led states of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara, filed an an exparte motion at the Supreme Court to restrain the CBN and the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline of the old banknotes as legal tender, which was granted.

Despite the Supreme Court interim order restraining the Federal Government and the CBN from implementing the February 10 deadline, President Muhammadu Buhari on February 16, during a national broadcast, granted a 60 day extension for the circulation of the old N200 note, discarding old N500 and N1,000 banknotes.

Buhari’s silence on the recent judgement has put Lagosians on the edge.

To play safe, some of the residents told NewsNGR recently that they would not accept the old banknotes, except N200, until the President speaks on the apex court judgement.

Speaking on the issue on Monday, Sanwo-Olu said that the CBN at a Bankers Committee meeting on Sunday, directed Banks to resume acceptance in compliance with Supreme Court verdict.

The Governor urged all businesses operating in the state to accept the old notes as it is legal tender.

He provided contact for residents of the state to report banks refusing to accept the old banknotes, adding that the state government will report such banks to the CBN and immediately shut down the offending branch.

“My dear Lagosians, I have noted the difficulties that you have been having over the naira redesign crisis. I feel your pains.

“Kindly note that commercial banks have been directed to accept the old N500 and N1,000 notes as deposits and pay them out for withdrawals.

“Putting the needs of our residents above all, we successfully got a Supreme Court verdict which extends the validity of the existing Naira notes till Dec 31st, 2023.

“The CBN at a Bankers Committee meeting yesterday directed Banks to resume acceptance in compliance,” Sanwoolu said via his verified Twitter handle @jidesanwoolu.

“I urge all businesses in Lagos to accept the old notes as it is legal tender. Anyone rejecting these notes will be heavily sanctioned as we kick off monitoring.

“If a bank refuses to accept deposits of old notes, please lodge a complaint with LASCOPA on 08124993895.

“The Lagos State Government will report the bank to the CBN and immediately shut down the offending branch.

“I assure you that this too shall pass as the authorities are working to ensure that the teething problems of the redesigning of our currency are resolved,” he added.

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