By Olajide Idowu
Residents of Osogbo in Osun have decried their inability to spend the old N500 and N1,000 denominations in spite of the Supreme Court’s pronouncement that they remain legal tender untill Dec. 31.
Residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, said they were happy with the Supreme Court’s judgment, but were disappointed when traders refused to accept the money.
Mr Adejare Agunloye, a civil servant, said he withdrew N10,000 old notes through the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) with the belief that it would solve the cash crunch he was facing.
Agunloye said he was, however, disappointed when traders refused to collect the money from him.
According to him, the traders say the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, and President Muhammadu Buhari, had not spoken or directed the public to start collecting it.
“The situation is really messed up.
“Imagine the situation where the Supreme Court would give a judgment and people still have to wait for the President to give such court order power of authenticity.
“I have been cash strapped since the new currency issue started and imagine my joy (like many others) when the judgment that banks should circulate the old N500 and N1,000 notes was given.
“Now see, after rushing to withdraw the old money from the bank, there is no where to spend it as traders continue to reject it because the President and CBN governor have not said it should be spent.
“At the moment, I have money I cannot spend and the worst part is, banks are not collecting the old notes from customers who want to deposit them, instead they are asking us to take the money directly to the CBN office for deposit.
“I don’t understand why things in Nigeria are always made difficult by the authorities.” he said.
Another resident, Mrs Ayoade Usman, said she withdrew N5,000 old notes from the ATM with the intention of buying food items from the market.
Usman said she almost got into a fight with some traders when they refused to collect the money from her, saying they don’t accept the old notes.
“I was angry after I wanted to buy pepper and meat and other food items, and these people said they are not collecting the old notes.
“This is the money that the Supreme Court said remains a legal tender till December and this is the same money these traders are refusing to collect.
“So, what is the essence of collecting the old Naira notes from the banks, if business operators and traders will not collect them?
“I hope CBN governor or Mr president would speak or issue an official statement to address this matter because the banks are still paying out the old notes to customers while business owners are rejecting them,” she said.
Mr Ajayi Ogunsola, a resident and a commercial transport operator, said he was collecting the old notes from passengers, but stopped when he discovered filling stations and traders were not collecting them from him.
“I was collecting the old N500 and N1,000 when the court said we should continue to spend them, but to my surprise, when i wanted to buy fuel, the fuel attendant said she was not collecting the old notes.
“I thought she was joking and told her the Supreme Court has directed that the old notes should remain a legal tender till December 31, but she insisted that the management has directed her and her colleagues not to collect the old notes.
“At this point, I do not know what to do with the old notes with me because I heard banks are also not collecting them, and people are saying I have to take it to the CBN office.” he said.
Mrs Lydia Yussuf, a fish seller in Osogbo, said she was not collecting the old notes because Emefiele and Buhari had not directed that the money should remain in use.
“I only collect the old N200 notes that the President directed us to be spending and most of my customers that don’t have cash pay me through bank money transfers.
“It would be dangerous for me and other sellers to collect the old N500 and N1,000 notes when we will not be able to spend them.
“Until the President or CBN Governor give the directive that we should be collecting the old notes, no market woman or trader will collect them. ” she said. (NAN)