• Traders still weary of naira controversy
By Chinwendu Obienyi
Large crowds were sighted at cash points and banking halls in Lagos yesterday in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s directive on old higher denomiation notes as legal tender.
Daily Sun investigations revealed that customers across Ajah, Jakande and Egbeda, besieged banking halls, to collect cash amid perversive scarcity across the country. Whilst the current development worsened cash transactions for many traders in the market, motorists, restaurants, businesses begun accepting the old notes.
However, poor network and other technical hitches stifled online transactions in stores and shopping malls in the metropolis.
The CBN had on Monday, succumbed to the Supreme Court’s judgement, stating that the old N200, N500 and N1000 would remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
As at October 2022, the apex bank had announced its resolve to redesign, produce, and circulate the new notes. Mr Emefiele said the redesign was to help manage money supply, tackle currency counterfeiting and terrorism, among other concerns, in the country.
But the development generated heated debates among the general public, as Nigerians lamented the scarcity of the new notes.
Speaking to Daily Sun yesterday, a security man at one of the banks said majority of customers were there to deposit the old notes and get the new ones. He added that the other customers who were at the bank for regular transactions did not join the queues for new notes.
Adeyanju Adepoju an artisan, said he had visited two banks but met huge crowd of customers saying he would continued to wait as he had no cash on him. “I have been to two banks since the CBN declared old notes would remain legal tender till December 31, 2023. I went to the first one, and the crowd was so huge. I had to get to this bank branch and even though it is huge, I had to wait and that is because I have ran out of cash.” He said.
When Daily Sun spoke to a bank staff, he noted that the banks currently do not have enough to meet customers, hence the delay in paying over the counter.
A medicine retailer in Mosafejo area, Orile, posted on its doors a message that it has started accepting old notes in exchange for its goods and services.
“Dear customers, in line with the CBN directive, we wish to inform our customers that we have started accepting the old notes (N200, N500, N1000) as legal tender for purchases. Thank you”, it said. Meanwhile the CBN have reiterated that it would not hesitate to sanction PoS operators caught charging above the approved rates.
The apex bank also urged Nigerians to use its social media handles to report PoS operators.
This is coming after customers lamented that PoS operators across the country are taking advantage of the Naira scarcity to rip them off.
Meanwhile, some traders in various markets in the satellite towns of the FCT are still skeptical about collecting the old Naira notes in spite of Central Bank Nigeria’s (CBN) directive.
Some of the traders who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Karu, Nyanya, and Mararaba Markets on Tuesday, said they would not accept the notes for any transaction until further notice.
Mrs Beatrice Ibe, a tomatoes dealer at Nyanya Market, said she was yet to collect or accept the old notes from her customers.
“I am scared of collecting the old notes, because I feel it will be rejected by the people I buy my goods from.
“Yes, I heard that the CBN has directed that we should start to spend and accept the old notes but what about the people in the villages?
“Have they also heard about it? I doubt it.
“I am waiting for other traders in the market to start collecting or accepting the old notes before I will collect from my customers,” she said.
Mr Alphonsus Iguru, another trader at the Mararaba Market, said he had some of the old N500 and N1,000 notes but yet to spend them.
Iguru appealed to the CBN to improve their sensitisation to the directive; saying that many people were yet to come to terms with the news.
“I have some of the old notes before but nobody agreed to collect them from me.
“We do not know what the CBN will say again tomorrow,so so, I don’t want to collect from people now and tomorrow, it will be another story,’’ he said.
Another trader at Nyanya Market, Mrs Philomena Joseph, said she was hearing about the directive for the first time.
“I am hearing this for the first time today because before you came, my husband called me and said he was given N3,000 of the old notes in his bank today.
“I even pleaded with him not to collect because he will not spend it,’’ she said.
NAN reports that the CBN recently directed commercial banks to dispense and receive old naira notes as legal tender across the country to their customers.
The CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting, according to a statement by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isa Abdulmumin.
NAN also reports that the Supreme Court had on March 3 in its judgment, extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to until Dec. 31.