Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have expressed joy over the extension of the deadline to swap old Naira notes.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele on Sunday announced that the bank obtained President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for a 10-day extension.

According to him, the deadline has been moved from Jan. 31 to February 10, to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians.

Some of the residents, who closed from places of worship and heard the news, were seen in clusters discussing.

A worshipper, who gave her name as Josephine, said her mother called from the village to tell her she was not able to exchange her old notes for the new ones.

Josephine said she was worried that her mother would not be able to meet up with the deadline.

“We heard the news when we closed from church and the first thing I did was to put a call across to my mother to break the news.

“I was concerned for her health because the development unsettled her.

“When I told her about the extension, she screamed.’’

Another worshipper, Obinna Ugwu, said the development was commendable.

Ugwu said although he was able to swap all his old notes for the new ones, he was happy for his friends and neighbours, who still had old notes.

According to him, my neighbour is a businessman and I heard him lamenting yesterday that he was not able to swap the old notes with him for new ones.

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“This is cheering news for him and some of my friends, who still have the old notes with them.

“The extension is short but it is better than the Jan. 31 deadline.

“I wondered how people, particularly those in the rural areas would have met the initial deadline.

“I hope the essence of the currency swap is achieved,’’ Ugwu said.

A taxi driver, Mr David Oche said the extension was a welcome development.

He said he was on his way to the fuelling station to use the old notes he had to buy fuel when he got the news.

On the last minute syndrome by some Nigerians, Oche said it was important for Nigerians to do away with the habit.

The driver said, “last minute rush is common among Nigerians
and it is a habit we must do away with.

“You will be surprised that even with the extension, some people will wait till the last days before going to swap their old notes,’’ he said.

The CBN Governor, Emefiele had fixed Jan. 31 as deadline for the return of old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.

The development generated reactions from Nigerians as there have been calls for extension of the deadline.

Politicians, including senators and House of Representatives members have also called for extension of the deadline. (NAN)