Gov. Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti has said the government would arrest and prosecute traders and service providers who reject the old N500 and N1000 denominations.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Yinka Olubode, and made available to newsmen on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti, Oyebanji appealed to traders and business owners in the state to stop creating hardship for residents.
The governor explained that the old N500 and N1000 denominations remained legal tender by virtue of the ruling of the Supreme Court which extended its validity date till Dec., 31.
Oyebanji said that his office had been inundated with the outcry of the people due to the hardship being faced as a result of the low circulation of the new redesigned Naira notes.
He said the Supreme Court had by its March 3 ruling, extended the validity date for the old naira notes in a case instituted by some states, including Ekiti.
Oyebanji said that the refusal of many business owners in the state to accept the old naira notes as means of the transaction was unlawful.
“This is an appeal to all residents of Ekiti to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court, which has provided a reprieve for the people by extending the validity date of the old naira notes till Dec., 31.
“As honourable people, what is expected of us is to abide by the ruling of the apex court and continue to accept the old naira notes as means of transactions and not to inflict further hardship on one another by rejecting it.
“Government will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute business owners found rejecting the old naira notes,” the statement quoted Oyebanji as saying.
He, however, assured that his administration will continue to explore avenues to make life more meaningful for the people, as it continues to build a more prosperous state.
The governor, therefore, appealed to the market women and men, artisans, transporters, filling stations, supermarket owners and school proprietors as well as service providers to remain law abiding and accept the old naira notes.
He also urged the commercial banks and Central Bank of Nigeria,(CBN) to make the old and new currencies available in their branches and at their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points in order to ease the stress residents go through to get money for their daily and commercial needs.