From Uche Usim, Abuja 

Despite repeated assurances from commercial banks that more cash would be available for disbursement to customers from Monday, the reverse appears to be the case as banking halls and ATMs sites in Abuja were filled  with agitated customers looking for cash, including those who came to resolve their failed electronic transactions.

Some of the bank customers and PoS operators who spoke with Daily Sun said virtually all the ATMs had no  cash between Friday and Monday.

Hopes of having more money for disbursement since both old and new naira notes are now operating concurrently dimmed as many banks remained cashless.

At Fidelity Bank Wuse Market branch, there was no cash for customers. 

More so, security was tight and access was highly restricted to maintain orderliness. There were two long queues; one was for those waiting to make interbank transfers and the other for those struggling to resolve failed electronic banking glitches.

At Polaris Bank, Gwarinpa, early birds were lucky to get N2,000 each and by 11am, as the bank said money in its coffers was exhausted.

It was the same no-cash scenario at Access, Zenith Bank and UBA branches in the central business district, Abuja when Daily Sun visited them on Monday.

Mary Adah, a dealer in mobile phones lamented: “I am here at Fidelity Bank for two main issues. One is to resolve failed online transactions and to see if I can get cash. But no cash and yet it’s hard to get in to lodge a formal complaint. We were asked to fill a form and I hope the form would be attended to”, she said.

Wale Johnson, a POS operator, said he had been scouting for cash since 5am.

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“We have a WhatsApp group where we share intelligence on banks that have cash. But today, none of them seems to have cash. I’ve been to three separate banks in Kubwa and Wuse”, he lamented.

Friday Owoh, a businessman, said it was pathetic that the Nigeria shortage saga has lingered for months unending, calling on relevant authorities to solve the logjam.

“The old and new naira notes are supposed to be circulating side by side. Why the scarcity?

“Elections are over but cash is not still flowing, what’s going on? The suffering is much”, he said.

Bank sources said more of the reintroduced old naira notes will be released by the apex bank in addition to the new notes to clear the queues in banks.

For now, the CBN pegged daily cash payout across the counter at N20,000 per customer.

“We will definitely have more money to disburse from this week since the CBN has approved the resurrection of the old naira notes. 

“Last week was hectic but I’m optimistic things will get better from this week. More branches will have cash to pay out”, a source from a second generation bank confided in Daily Sun.

Sources at other commercial banks said the bulk of the cash mopped up from customers in the wake of the naira redesign policy, has been returned to the  CBN, in order to beat the February 10 sunset date for the old notes.

“The truth of the matter is that we can’t have the volume of cash we had before the cashless policy took off. We can’t pay more than N20,000 per customer per day as instructed by the CBN. The old and new notes have to be rationed at this time and I believe things will get better from next week”, another source said.