Bayelsa community protests over rejection of old N500, N1000 notes despite Supreme court ruling

According to a report by SaharaReporters, the residents of Akenfa Community in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have staged a protest.

They protested against the rejection of the old N500 and N1000 notes after the judgment of the Supreme Court extending the validity of the Naira notes to December 31, 2023.

The residents on Friday took to the streets to protest the continued rejection of the old Naira notes by traders in the state.

The protesters who were mostly women, youths and a handful of elderly men, displayed placards with various inscriptions including “Bank refuses the old cash but they are still dispensing it, why?” and “Attention, Attention, we are dying, banks give old notes but marketers reject it.”

The Supreme Court had in its last ruling ordered that the validity of the old N500 and N1000 notes should be allowed to be in circulation along with the new notes till December 31, 2023, but it was gathered that while commercial banks dispense the old N500 and N1,000 notes to customers, traders and business owners do not accept the old notes nor do the commercial banks accept the old notes when customers return them.

It was gathered that the aggrieved protesters blocked the major Mbiama-Yenagoa Road for hours, crippling vehicular movement and commercial activities around the Akenfa axis.

One of the residents who identified herself as Mrs Debora Ebi, who lamented their ordeal told Daily Post that they no longer cope with the manner the old Naira notes are rejected in the state, saying that the charges from POS are very terribly high.

Ebi said her inability to do any transaction has plunged her family into acute hunger since the Central Bank of Nigeria commenced the implementation of the Naira redesign and cashless policy.

Also speaking, a trader identified as Madam Tokoni, said banks are giving old naira notes but refuse to accept deposits of the old naira note from customers.

Tokoni said that “If I sell and collect old notes, how will I transact business when others won’t receive? We have suffered. Our family members are dying of hunger. No food. Market is not moving. Why is government treating us like this? We heard other states are accepting the old naira notes, but the story is different in Bayelsa State, why?”

Similarly, a former Secretary of Bayelsa State Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Comrade Alagoa Morris, noted that the issue of the rejection of the old Naira notes is a clear case of “when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.”

According to Morris, “As a matter of fact, it is sad, unfortunate and very unacceptable. This suffering has reduced Nigerians to the level where their dignity as human beings have been denied them, including avoidable deaths. The continued denial of cash even after the Supreme Court’s ruling speaks volumes that this is a country where the rule of law is not practiced.”

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