The CBN’s new naira strategy causes Nigerians to suffer
On an average day, the deliquent soldiers who skipped the line at an ATM at the University of Benin that was dispensing brand-new naira notes might have gotten away with it. But on Thursday, angry University of Benin (UNIBEN) students attacked them after they were accused of beating other students who were trying to videotape the scene and halt the inappropriate behavior in a video that went viral.
Although there were no fatalities as a result of the UNIBEN event, Kaduna has already had a fatality due to the statewide scarcity of the new naira notes, which followed the death of a pregnant woman whose husband was unable to obtain cash to cover the hospital deposit on her behalf.
The deceased woman’s husband, James Auta, claimed to have visited the hospital with his wife five days prior at Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru LGA, Kaduna, where the doctor required them to make a deposit before examining her. But after numerous failed attempts at banks and P. O. S. operators, he gave up and went back home with the wife, who had been helped in giving birth by a nurse in their neighborhood.
Unfortunately, she bled to death after giving birth successfully.
The lack of the new naira notes is hurting companies, resulting in suffering, starvation, fights, and unnecessary deaths throughout Nigeria.
Due to the lack of currency, transactions between people and businesses in Abuja were moving more slowly, raising concerns that, if the situation continued, economic activity may come to a complete stop.
There has been a severe cash shortage since the Central Bank’s announcement on October 26, 2022, and the 45-day transition time to the new N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes has resulted in a 10-day extension to February 10.
Roseline Jeremiah, a Nigerian who visited the Maraba Market in Abuja to restock on necessities, couldn’t do that. The POS could only accept a transfer and the only operator who had cash in hand insisted that she pay a N1,000 fee for N20,000.
Mama Fruits, a woman who sells fruit and vegetable salads at the market, on her part, has decided not to replenish her stock until she has cash. At the time of the visit, she had not seen alerts of transfers nor had they reflected in her bank account, after all of her customers claimed to be making transfers to her. “Aunty, when I finish this one, I won’t go to the market to refill until there is cash,” she said.
In Kaduna, since the deadline and eventual extension of date for the swapping of naira notes for the new ones, most Kaduna residents have been practically moving from pillar to pole in search of currency, either new or old, to no avail.
However, the few POS centres that operate, charge exorbitantly per each withdrawal, with N10,000 withdrawal attracting an extra charge of N1,500, just as N10,000 deposit is charged N500.
A resident, Mr. Saxone Johnson, told Saturday Sun: “How can I be buying my own money at a very high rate before I could feed my family, buy fuel, pay for goods and services. This government does not care for her citizens. People are suffering, even with their own money again. It is rather unfortunate.”
In the same vein, shortage of cash has sparked anger in Bayelsa State.
Customers at the Sterling Bank Isaac Boro branch were already fighting among themselves since they couldn’t agree on how to form the line at the ATM. Some of the banks who were issuing N100 and N50 notes a few days ago, like First Bank, are now out of cash.
“The situation is terrible. No bank has money to pay out. We called the CBN and we were told that it is only next week they are bringing in money to the state,” said a bank official in one of the new generation banks.
At Stanbic – IBTC and Fidelity Banks along Melford Okilo Road, some bank customers have turned the ATM gallery to temporary homes, as they wait, hoping that the bank officials would load the ATM machines.
Adamawa residents are also groaning over the scarcity of new naira notes. The famous Bank Road in Yola, Adamawa, had become a sight of pain, frustration and anger.
Ibrahim Usman, who was just passing through Yola from Jos, lamented, “This policy is wicked and anti-people. I just came to withdraw N10,000 from this POS, and the operator just informed me that I have to pay a hundred naira for every N1, 000. Why? I worked hard to make this money, why will someone just invent a policy that makes me lose money for no just cause?”
Another resident of Yola, Njamaina Ayuba, said: “Every bank you go to there are endless queues of people who have abandoned their daily activities to exchange their old notes for the newly redesigned notes.
“This is crazy, I have never seen anything like this. This is overheating the system, especially on the eve of a very important election in the country.”
Residents of Osun State have complained in Osogbo that the strain of working long hours to earn money is preventing people from being productive.
According to information obtained by this newspaper, people are increasingly awakening at midnight to use the automated teller machine and go collect tallies before returning the next morning (ATM).
Speaking with our correspondent, Olatoke Opeyemi, who said he picked up his number around 1 am, added: “I was given number 15, and the ATM has not been dispensing till now.”
Also, a businessman in Osogbo, Bamigbade Muhammed, said he was able to get number 3 because he went to the bank at midnight.
“We’re no longer productive. It doesn’t make sense. The hours that we need to be productive, that we use to do business, are being used to queue for money.
“If we queue here and still queue at the filling station, it doesn’t make sense at all. People are suffering, and the authorities should just find a way or means to reduce the suffering,” he pleaded.
Millions of people in Kano, including traders, government workers, almajiri children, and even street beggars, have been enraged as a result of the currency swap since they are unable to obtain money from their banks.
This deplorable pattern has sparked black market trades in which traders profit from the desperate need to sell new naira notes at excessive costs. According to DESMOND MGBOH, it has also caused a rise in the price of consumables and other services in addition to a general reduction in market transactions.
We have learned that some political parties in the state have postponed their rallies and political programs due to popular outrage and potential violence.
Residents of Rivers State begin lining up at ATMs as early as 6 am. When our reporter went to one of the banks on the same Odual Road in Port Harcourt, the cashier informed him that the bank could only pay a maximum of N5,000 in cash and that there was no cash other than N20.00 and N10.00 denominations.
It is challenging to withdraw up to N10,000 at POS centers. A fee of N100 is added to each N1,000. Additionally, there is a rush at any POS locations that carry cash.
Numerous clients from Birnin Kebbi continue to wait in huge lines at all commercial banks since they are still unable to obtain new currency.
A customer, Malam Musa Gero from Kukaru, Gulma in Argungu Local Government Area of Kebbi State, lamented: “I have been here for over five hours waiting in the queue to deposit my money, as I am talking to you I am number 260 because the bank officials have written our names and issued numbers to all of us, so, we are still waiting.”
Speaking with this newspaper, a businessman, Abdullahi Jega, said, getting new notes from banks had become extremely difficult. He disclosed that, if he wanted the new notes of N20,000, he might end up getting N15,000 because the insider in the bank, or agent, would take 20% cut from the money.
The situation is the same in Abia State, where everyone is complaining about the lack of cash, including traders and transporters.
Due to the current shortage of currency to conduct their daily operations, life was tense for the bustling business community in Aba, the economic hub of Abia State.
Traders, drivers, artists, and food vendors lament the “poor market,” which is Nigerian slang for little or no clientele.
This publication learned that the crisis had also affected students’ attendance at school, with many parents requesting that their wards stay home for the second term, which started soon after the New Year holidays, because they had not yet paid their children’s tuition.