El-Rufai directs state MDAs to accept payments in old, new notes


CONTRARY to the position of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and President Muhammadu Buhari’s support on retiring the old N500 and N1,000 notes, Governor Nasr el-Rufai of Kaduna State has directed ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the state to continue to accept payments in all denominations of the naira, old and new.

According to an official statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communications, Muyiwa Adekeye, dated February 19, 2023, el-Rufai cited the subsisting order of the Supreme Court as the basis for his decision.

The statement read, “In line with the subsisting order of the Supreme Court, the Kaduna State Government has directed its ministries, departments and agencies to ensure that their collection agents continue to accept payments made in all denominations of naira, old and new.

“The laws of Kaduna State do not allow personnel of government agencies to be involved in cash collection of revenues. The collection agents authorised by the state government agencies do offer citizens a route for cash payments, and are expected to comply with the subsisting Court order.”

El-Rufai has been vocal against President Buhari’s stance on the expiration date for the rested notes of N500 and N1000, insisting the President was wrong to go against the Supreme Court order that allowed them as legal tender until the determination of a suit brought before it by three state governors on the matter.

The court had adjourned hearing on the suit till February 22.

Buhari had, in a nationwide broadcast on February 16, supported the CBN on the February 10 date as deadline for the N500 and N1,000 notes as legal tender, while extending the life of the N200 to April 10.

El-Rufai had granted media interviews accusing those he called “fifth columnists” in the Presidential Villa of influencing President Buhari’s inability to shift grounds on the February 10 expiration of the two old notes, despite the apex court order.

Commenting on El-Rufai’s position on February 18, the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign council, Daniel Bwala, said in a monitored broadcast on Channels Television that the governor committed treason by countering Buhari’s order on the old naira notes.

Bwala said el-Rufai should have reported to the Supreme Court if Buhari’s directive conflicted with that of the court instead of “inciting” people against him.

“If you are in doubt about a decision of the court that you felt a member of your cabinet and the leader of your party has violated, the law that we know (says) that when the matter comes up at the Supreme Court you either get contempt proceedings against the president or you will draw the attention of the Supreme Court that the man has acted (up) badly.

“As the FCT minister, el-Rufai disobeyed all court orders and demolished houses. He disobeyed all court orders given that they should restore the staff that went on strike. He disobeyed the order of the court about the compensation of people whose land he demolished,” the spokesperson said.

He added that el-Rufai also disobeyed the court order on the conduct of the local government election at the time it was given, stressing, “the governor also disobeyed a court order that restrained him from sacking teachers and civil servants in Kaduna.”

The ICIR discovered today that Kaduna residents were still accepting the rested notes in their transactions, following the governor’s directive.

At the Sabo market in Kaduna, traders were seen wooing customers by shouting, “old notes, old notes” to boost sales.

“I went to the market today before going to church and saw traders beckoning on customers while assuring them that old notes were still acceptable,” a customer at the market, Nnenna Uzoechina, told The ICIR.

Nnena observed, however, that there was a slight addition to the price tag for customers making purchases with old notes, and normal price for those coming with new notes.

“For a foodstuff selling at N10,000, if you come with new money, you can get it at that price. But with old money, you will get it at N12,000.This was what I observed at the Sabo market today,” she said.

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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