New Naira notes: Customers stranded, keep vigil as scarcity worsens in Kogi
Residents of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, are currently in a fix over the scarcity of both the old and the new Naira notes.
The trauma got messier Tuesday night as customers turned commercial banks to night vigil centres in order to withdraw cash from the Automated Teller Machine, ATM.
As at 11:45 PM on Tuesday, many customers were still stranded in various banks in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital as they could not get cash to carry out transactions.
A financial expert, Ikechukwu Mpama, who spoke to DAILY POST, said the current currency scarcity was inflicting more pains on Nigerians alongside the fuel scarcity.
He admonished the Central Bank of Nigeria to sanction any commercial bank sabotaging the effort of the government towards ensuring smooth circulation of the new currency.
A branch officer of one of the new generation banks, who wants to remain anonymous, told some correspondents in Lokoja that they were helpless.
He said that he had been receiving various telephone calls from customers but that there was nothing they could do.
The senior officer said the apex bank had not released enough new naira notes to his bank to take care of the large volume of customers trooping to the bank.
Findings indicates that majority of the people complied with the earlier January 31 deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Keen watchers of the current scarcity of currency in the country, noted that the inability of banks to have enough new naira for customers and the fact that the banks were no longer issuing old naira notes deposited by customers triggered the current cash crunch in the country.
They called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to quicken the process of releasing new naira notes banks to ease the pains of customers.
One of the first generation banks, located in Lokoja, on Tuesday, further limited the amount a customer can cash from N20,000 to N5,000 per day. This is to enable more customers to access the new notes.
Authorities of many secondary schools in Lokoja have written to parents and guardians to pay school fees of their children and wards through mobile cash transfer given the difficulty in cashing the new naira notes for payment.
Baptist High School, Lokoja, in one of such letters to parents, said: “Dear parents, please be reminded that school fees defaulters will not be allowed in school as from Monday 6/2/23. Transfer to School account is allowed.”
The school, however, stressed the need for parents to support such payment with authentic receipt.
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However, the tension created by the refusal of market men and women to accept the old naira notes prior to extension of the January 31 deadline, eased on Tuesday, with many dealers on foodstuff and other products accepting such currency from buyers.
Meanwhile, a large crowd of customers continued to be a visible feature in all the banks our correspondent visited in Lokoja on Tuesday, with most of them lamenting the pains they were going through.