Operators of Lagos state-owned transportation services, including Bus Rapid Transit system, BRT are rejecting the old N1000 and N500 notes despite the threat by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to prosecute those doing so.
The rejection of the old notes by commercial banks in the state has made it difficult for the ticketing company to fully comply with the governor’s directive, Daily Trust on Sunday learnt.
Sanwo-Olu, had on Wednesday, warned those rejecting old naira notes to desist or face prosecution.
The governor in a statement by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the rejection of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes is contrary to the position of the Supreme Court.
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However, Daily Trust on Sunday observed that BRT ticketers at some of the terminals including Oshodi, Obalende, Agege and Abule Egba, were rejecting the old notes.
One of our correspondents who wanted to top up his cowry card at Obalende terminal was told by the ticketers to provide new notes as the old N500 and N1,000 notes were no longer acceptable.
Our correspondents also met some passengers at Abule Egba and Oshodi terminals, lamenting the rejection of the old Naira notes.
“The ticketer didn’t accept the old notes from me, but the governor said Lagosians should be spending both the old and new notes. If government transport services are rejecting it, how will danfo drivers and others accept it,” queried
Olusola Becca, an entrepreneur who lives in Ifako Ijaiye area of the state.
However, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the ticketing company, which is regulated by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, has been put in a fix over the order by the governor and the directive by CBN to banks not to collect the old notes.
It was learnt that the ticketing company has collected money for tickets running into millions of Naira in old N500 and N1,000 notes which the banks have refused to accept from them as deposits.
“This is a private company which has created jobs for Nigerians but has been put in a fix by the CBN policy. What if they keep collecting these old notes but the banks refuse to collect it from them. That will be a huge loss to the company,” a source disclosed.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, the Managing Director of Primero Transport Services Ltd, operators of BRT in Lagos, Mr Fola Tinubu, said it is understandable that ticketers are rejecting the old notes.
While stressing that Primero is neither in charge or employer of the ticketers, he said that CBN has created confusion with the Naira redesign policy. He said this confusion has been escalated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent address as well as CBN’s directive to banks which are at variance with the order of the Supreme Court.
“The governor has said that nobody should reject old notes in the state but banks are rejecting them. We have to understand the dilemma of the ticketing company. The Supreme Court has given an order that the old notes should be used but the CBN is saying the old notes are no longer legal tender. What if the banks refuse to collect the money from the ticketing company? So I can’t 100% fault them for rejecting old notes from passengers. It is the CBN that has created this confusion because the ticketing company is not sure if they can swap their money to new notes,” he said.
He also hinted that LAMATA is looking at ways of addressing the issue of the old notes with the ticketing company.
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