11th March, 2023
By Lydia Ngwakwe
Some Lagos residents have expressed regrets for collecting the old N500 and N1000 notes from commercial banks, after the Supreme Court judgment validating it as legal tender till Dec. 31.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that it had been challenging spending the two old notes as Nigerians were not accepting the money for their daily transactions.
They also said it was surprising that two days after the judgment, banks started paying between N5,000 and N10,000 per customer, compared with N3,000 and N5,000 that were dispensed from their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) during the cash swap period.
Mr Matthew Aburime, a student of Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, who expressed disappointment, said he had been unable to spend the money he collected from a bank.
“I came from Ikorodu to Ajao Estate to spend some time with my grandmother, unfortunately for me, when it was time for me to go back to my base, there was no cash to be given to me.
“Someone then told me that a nearby bank was paying old notes. Since it was from a commercial bank, I felt they would pay based on the instruction of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Then, I went and queued. Eventually, I was able to withdraw N10,000 from the bank.
“As we speak, the money is still with me, I’ve not been able to spend it; the first rejection was from a commercial bus driver.
Aburime urged President Muhammadu Buhari or the Central Bank Governor to make a pronouncement on whether to accept it or not.
“They, being quiet is making people lose more money,” he said.
According to him, their silence has also given some people the power to cheat and commit heinous acts like excess charges from the PoS agents.
Mr Daniel Okpulonu, a trader, also shared the same regrets.
“When I realised that these old notes that I was receiving from my bank were not legal tender was when a bank official announced that people who had received the old notes should not bother bringing them back as it would not be acceptable.
“As we speak, I am still going about with the money, looking out for where I can spend it. All to no avail.
“This is not good enough, government should come out and tell us what they want from us, Nigerians have suffered enough since the inception of this policy,” he said.
Mr Brian Achilefu, a Clergy, blamed the situation on the inability of many banks to dispense the old notes after the Supreme Court judgement.
According to him, it is not a good sign when institutions begin to disrespect the authority of the Supreme Court.
“The CBN should obey the court ruling and do as it ordered so that people and everything can go back to normal,” he said.
Mrs Abimbola Alli, a trader at Jakande Estate Market, Okeafa, told NAN she only accepts new notes.
According to her, she took the few old notes that she collected from her customers to the bank which were rejected.
“Is that the situation that you want for me again? Never will I collect old notes again.
“Other traders are not collecting old notes in this market; I was the only one accepting it.
“When I could not deposit it in my bank and Okada riders also refused to accept it, I decided not to accept it anymore,” she said.
The Supreme Court on March 3 ordered that the old Naira notes should be allowed in circulation along with the new notes until Dec. 31.