BEING A STATEWIDE BROADCAST DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN, CON, ON WEDNESDAY 8TH FEBRUARY, 2023.
My dear good people of Ondo state
It is imperative that I address you today because of the need to halt a self-induced pain currently being experienced by us all in the state. This is on account of the circulation and use of the old naira notes in our economy.
Credible information reaching me indicates that quite a large number of residents of the state are denied the use of the old currency notes issued by the Central bank of Nigeria. This comes in form of rejection of the old notes as legal tender and means of exchange for goods and services particularly by traders, artisans, transporters, farmers and a large percentage of the operators of the informal sector of our economy in Ondo State.
This development is unfortunate, undesirable and uncalled for. This is because the matter of legitimacy and return into circulation of all old naira notes in the nation’s economy has been settled permanently by the Supreme Court of Nigeria and also backed up by the appropriate instruments of implementation by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Our people will recall that the Apex Court, in its recent judgement had among others, ruled that the old currency notes must remain as a legal tender in exchange of goods and services in the nation.
For avoidance of doubt, the judgment ordered that both the new and old notes should not only coexist but be accepted and used side by side by all Nigerians until the end of this year when the proper elimination and substitution of the old currency notes would have been completed.
The implication of the Supreme Court judgement is that it removes the daily pain, discomfort and trauma being faced by the people of this country occasioned by the scarcity of the new notes. It is also geared towards ensuring stability, strength and vitality for our economy, particularly the informal economy which involves, on daily basis, the largest number of our people at the grassroots.
If we may recall that from the onset of the Federal Government’s policy of Naira swap, our position as a state, was clear and unambiguous. We not only condemned the idea and process of implementation of the policy, we also canvassed for its total abrogation, given its timing and methodology. We insisted on the need for the Federal Government to resolve the introduction of the cashless policy in favour of the common man.
We did this because we believe the fundamental objective of Government must be to see to the welfare and security of the people at all times. It is not to inflict or add more to their pains. We believe the people must be happy and free to live their lives legitimately without any pain, discomfort or trauma.
It is therefore of great concern to me today, that a large section of our people in the state, particularly traders in our markets, taxi and bus drivers, barbers, auto mechanics and artisans are rejecting the old naira notes thereby inflicting and sustaining a needless pain on their fellow citizens and customers. This is unfortunate and unexpected. It is a flagrant disobedience to the law and the Central Bank directives.
I, therefore, wish to inform you that the rejection of the old one thousand naira, five hundred naira and two-hundred-naira notes by us will do us no good. It will stifle our local trade and business transactions, weaken our economy and cause us great harm and avoidable troubles.
I hereby use this opportunity to appeal to you all, my good people of Ondo State, to embrace and accept the old notes alongside the new notes as stipulated by law. Let us not create a needless tension over the matter. Please collect, spend and exchange the old notes without let or hindrance.
While the Commercial Banks within the State must be commended for receiving and paying with the old notes, I would also like to appeal to them to increase the circulation of all currencies at their disposals and devise a more effective way to decongest the banks, especially at the ATM cash points.
In conclusion, I appeal to all the media in the state, as well as, all our traditional rulers, community leaders and opinion moulders to assist Government in educating our people, especially at the grassroots, on the need to surmount this avoidable threat to our economy and livelihood.
We have no other space to call our own but this state of ours, let us do everything to make her prosper.
Thank you and may God bless you all.