In direct affront to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has asked residents of Kaduna State to accept the old N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender.
In a broadcast to the people of Kaduna State on Thursday evening, Governor El-Rufai said the notes remain legal tender until Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise.
President Buhari had in a national broadcast early on Thursday declared that old N500 and N1000 were no longer valid.
But during his statewide address, Mr El-Rufai noted that the policy was conceived and sold to President Muhammadu Buhari by officials who lost out in the primaries.
He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, all the old and new notes shall remain in use as legal tender in Kaduna State until the Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise.
“I therefore appeal to all residents of Kaduna State to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear. The Kaduna State Government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners.
“If need be, we shall take further consequential actions according to the law. The address by the President earlier this morning limiting the legal tender status of old notes to only N200 amounts to total disregard and disobedience of the ruling of February 8th which was extended further yesterday by the Supreme Court.
“The misguided action of the Attorney-General to mislead the President into engaging in this public violation of the order of the highest court of the land shows how desperate the policy architects are to cause national chaos, by showing open contempt for the judiciary.
I therefore appeal to all residents of Kaduna State to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear. The Kaduna State Government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners.
El-Rufai described the current scarcity of naira notes as part of an alleged plot to disrupt the forthcoming general elections to ensure an interim government takes over.
He alleged that the development was meant to ensure that the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, and other candidates of the party lose.
“It is important for the people of Kaduna State, and indeed Nigeria, to know that contrary to the public pronouncements and apparent good intentions, this policy was conceived and sold to the President by officials who completely lost out in the gubernatorial and presidential primaries of the APC in June 2022.
“Once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest.
“They also sought to achieve any one or more of the following objectives: create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the party in all the elections; ensure that the cash crunch is so serious, along with the contrived and enduring fuel shortage existing since September 2022, that the 2023 elections do not hold at all, leading to an Interim National Government to be led by a retired Army General; sustain the climate of shortage of fuel, food and other necessities, leading to mass protests, violence and breakdown of law and order that would provide a fertile foundation for a military take-over.”
The governor said there was no reason why the old and new notes should not coexist until the old notes are gradually withdrawn over the years as it is done in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other countries.