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Anger and frustration across the country over scarcity of new naira notes 



Elections: Six days to the big day, APC govs, bank CEOs rush to clear naira mess

It was one story of agony or another across the country yesterday as millions of Nigerians queued endlessly at automated teller machine (ATM) points to collect the new naira notes.

Some moved from one bank to the other in search of scarce notes.

Their situation was not helped by traders and petrol attendants who started to reject the old notes, leaving buyers and motorists seething with anger.

And they now have only 72 hours to change their old notes to new ones or lose the opportunity forever.


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said repeatedly that there is no going back on the January 31 deadline.

Although the commercial banks have notified their customers that they will operate today and tomorrow Sunday to receive the old notes from those who may wish to deposit, an investigation yesterday showed that most of the banks were still short of the new notes.

Only a few of them loaded their ATMs with the new notes.

Customers thronged the various banks across the country in the hope of getting the new notes.


At Access Bank Plc located in the Central Business District, Abuja, a few customers were seen at the banking hall depositing old naira notes while the ATM spot had a long queue of customers withdrawing the new notes.

Mr. Benjamin Imashi, a customer, said although there were long queues in banks, citizens should endure enabling the government to achieve their good aim.

On the extension of the deadline for the old notes, he said “we do not want any extension”.

“The timeline for the old notes is only three days from now. We do not have to bother about that, because we are suffering fuel crisis, and inflation and they do not have a timeline. But this one has a timeline.


“We know that after January 31, we will have all the currencies we need.

“We have to support the CBN and Mr. President because, without this, the people who have hoarded money for election and other purposes will still bring the monies into circulation, and that is what the CBN is fighting against.

“We have to make sacrifices so that we can get what we want. We do not want CBN to extend the deadline.

“If you extend it, you are giving room for the money hoarders to bring the monies back into circulation and the intention of the government would be defeated.”


Mr. Abdul Ishaka, a customer at Access Bank, said the bank’s ATM dispensed N20,000 of the new notes to him.

Ishaka, who said he moved from one bank ATM to the other in search of the new notes, urged other banks to join in making the collection easier for customers.

Another customer at Access Bank, Mrs. Helen Takun, said the queues were frustrating and discouraging.

“The CBN and banks should make the new notes available for the people.

“Why must people go through stress with every policy they want to implement? People are willing to utilize the new money but it should be made available with ease,” she said.


Mrs. Angela Akatu, a customer at First Bank Plc, Central Business District, said she had stood in the queue for about an hour without collecting the notes.

She appealed to the CBN to disburse enough notes to the banks to reduce the stress faced by the masses.

A bank official, who preferred anonymity, said they were short of the new notes, adding that the bank was dispensing according to what they received from the CBN.

In Lagos, some motorists were left cursing after petrol station attendants refused to accept the old naira notes.


Some of the motorists wondered why the attendants did not forewarn them until they had spent hours in the queue to buy fuel.

Some traders also refused to do business with buyers holding the old notes.

One Janet Aondo, who was spotted at Karu, Abuja with the old N1,000 note, said she was frustrated.

Aondo said she came out to get snacks for her children to take to school but was told that she could only make payment with the new naira note.


She said it was worrisome that people had begun to reject the old notes.

Another customer, who pleaded anonymity, said she was turned down by a PoS agent when she went to deposit the old naira notes.

“The agent imputed the amount and recipient’s number, but the moment I brought out old notes, he said ‘Madam we have stopped collecting old notes’.

“I tried explaining to him that the deadline is January 31, but he was adamant.


“I had to use other PoS and what I did was to wait till the transaction was successful before I brought out the money and luckily the agent collected it.

“As I speak with you, I am going to ransack my house for any of those old notes and make sure I spend all of them today.”

PoS operators make brisk business, surcharge for new naira notes

Some Point of Sale (PoS) operators in satellite towns of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are making brisk business with the new naira notes.


Newsmen reports that some of the PoS outlets at Nyanya, Mararaba, and Karu were either not dispensing the new notes or charging extra cash for them.

Miss Dera Akoh, an operator in Nyanya, charged N200 for each N2000 new note dispensed.

She said the banks were not also dispensing enough new naira notes to them.

She said: “For every N2,000 you withdraw, the customer will pay me N200.


”It is very difficult for us to get the new notes even in banks.

”I went to the bank yesterday and they gave me new notes for only N5,000. It is not our fault,” she said.

Another operator, Mrs. Peace Akande, also in Nyanya, said she charged N150 for every N1,500 withdrawn.

Mr. Isah Abdullahi, a PoS operator at Mararaba, said he did not have new notes to pay customers.


He appealed to the customers to withdraw only what they could spend before the deadline for the use of the old naira notes elapsed.

Mr Anthony Ali, a resident of a community in the Lugbe area, said that operators were charging N500 for every N5,000 withdrawn.

”In Lugbe, if you want to collect N5000, the operators will pay you N4,500 and collect their N500 charge as against N100 which they usually charge.

”This is very frustrating. CBN needs to step up its actions.


”They should make these new naira notes available for people to use,” he said.

The story is not different in Jos, the Plateau State capital where PoS operators have hiked charges for their transactions from N100 to N200 per N10,000.

POS operators in some areas of the city charge N200 for withdrawing N10,000 redesigned notes and accepting deposits for the new rates.

An operator at Zarmaganda area who pleaded anonymity said the increase was due to the difficulties they encounter in accessing the new naira notes from the banks and the limit on withdrawal.


Aba residents lament the ordeal

Residents of the commercial city of Aba, Abia State, are also disappointed at the inability of the banks to meet their demands for the new notes.

Many of them who went to their banks in the hope of getting the new notes returned home in frustration.

Some traders also rejected the old notes, claiming they were unsure of changing them before the Tuesday deadline.


Some petrol station owners stopped collecting the old notes from 10 am to enable them to go to the bank to deposit the ones that they have.

Ganduje sympathizes with populace, calls for an extension of time

Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje yesterday sympathized with the people of the state over the hardship they have been encountering in changing their old notes.

Ganduje, in a statement he issued through Information Commissioner Muhammad Garba, said the government was deeply moved by the attendant consequences of the policy which has affected the people, especially poor Nigerians, due to its timing and short transition period.


“The state government is making frantic efforts to collaborate with other stakeholders to see to the extension of the transition period set for the total withdrawal of the old banknotes and issuance of enough new naira notes to the people,” he said.

“While the government, like most Nigerians, believes that the people are facing hardship following the naira redesign, it is passionately appealing to the CBN to extend the deadline set for the policy,” the Commissioner for Information quoted Ganduje as saying.

On the current fuel shortage, the statement also urged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure adequate supply and distribution of the commodity to Nigerians.

The governor urged people in the state to remain calm as appropriate measures would be taken to ameliorate the difficult situations being faced.


The Tijjaniyya, Qadiriyya, and Izala Islamic sects in the state also asked the federal government to extend the deadline “due to unavailability of the new naira notes for the people.”

The call for extension was a resolution at a meeting that had in attendance Governor Ganduje, his deputy and APC gubernatorial candidate Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, deputy governorship candidate Murtala Sule Garo, APC State Chairman Abdullahi Abbas, and the Islamic clerics from all the sects.

The meeting was held in Government House, during which the attendees noted that “economic activities have been paralyzed in Kano -the commercial nerve center of Northern Nigeria due to hardship caused by the shortage of the new naira notes.”

The meeting urged President Muhammadu Buhari to out of magnanimity consider the suffering caused to the people of the state by the shortage of the new naira notes and extend the deadline set by the CBN.


Many Kano residents were seen in long queues at automated teller machines (ATM) points waiting to collect new notes.

New naira notes for sale in Enugu

The new notes were openly sold to interested people at the Ogbete Main Market in Enugu yesterday with an N5,000 transaction attracting an N500 charge.

POS operators charged an extra N300 for new notes below N5000.


The scarcity of the new notes has made business transactions in cash difficult in the state with traders rejecting the old notes.

Chaos in Ogun as the deadline draws closer

Frustrated bank customers in Abeokuta pushed and shoved one another in and out of banking halls in the Ogun State capital yesterday in their last-minute rush to either deposit the old naira notes or make withdrawals in exchange for the new notes.

The congestion and attendant chaos followed the shortage of news notes and in some cases, unavailability of the new notes for dispensing through the banks’ ATM points.


At the Sapon branch of a new generation, bank visited, customers revolted, vowing not to vacate the bank premises unless the bank’s ATMs were loaded with the new notes.

However, the crowd of customers started easing off around 3:30 pm when CBN officials got wind of the tension in some of the bank branches and went around.

Reacting to the situation, Mr. Jayeola Olugbenga, Deputy Director, of the Banking Supervision Department, CBN Abuja, and Dr. Adeniyi Olatunde Adenuga, Deputy Director, of the Research Department, CBN, who are members of the team, said they elected to storm the banks and ensure that the new notes moved round and customers have access to them.

Olugbenga said the exercise sought to ensure that the new notes moved around for easy accessibility.


Frustration as residents storm Ondo banks for new notes

Residents of Akure and its environs expressed anger and frustration over their inability to get the newly redesigned naira notes from various banks.

Many who visited the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were disappointed that they could not get half of the cash they deposited into their account.

Several ATM points visited in Akure were not dispensing cash while some ATMs dispensed both old and new notes.


At a new generation bank, a soldier who pleaded anonymity said he rejected the old notes paid to him across the counter.

Some bank customers said their banks were still giving out old notes.

Banking halls visited in Akure were packed full.

In Akungba Akoko, the four commercial banks in the community were filled with customers.

A community leader, Chief Seriki Awesu, who appealed for an extension of the January 31st deadline, said it was hectic to deposit money.


Miss Khadijat Abulu said the bank officials opted to transfer money to individuals’ accounts as many people rejected old notes.

However, commercial drivers and traders were still accepting the old notes in Akure.

Naira redesign not targeted at anybody says CBN

The Central Bank yesterday denied suggestions that the naira redesign was part of the plot to scuttle the 2023 general election. It said the move was in the interest of the nation.


The CBN Director of Finance, Benjamin Fakunle, made the clarification in Ilawe-Ekiti, the headquarters of Ekiti Southwest Area of Ekiti State while monitoring the cash swap policy being implemented by the apex bank.

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had claimed that the lingering fuel crisis and naira redesign by CBN was aimed by fifth columnists to scuttle the coming elections and his expected victory.

But Fakunle said yesterday that “we are not targeting anybody.”

He added: “The last time that Nigeria redesigned notes was more than nine years, and this is something that we normally do in a period of between five and seven years.


“So, nobody is being targeted.

“You will see that by the time these new notes are in circulation and we go cashless, incidents of kidnapping and other crimes will come to an end because there will be no monies to pay for ransom. “Beyond that, we would be sure that the amount of money that is in circulation is within the vault of the CBN.

“The policy is not targeted at anybody. We are just doing our work the way it is, within the mandate of the law and within the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Bank operators counter CBN over alleged hoarding of new notes


Representatives of the commercial banks told the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the scarcity of the new notes and the January 31 deadline on Thursday that there is not enough of the new notes to go around.

Mrs. Hadiza Ambursa, an official of Access Bank, who represented the Managing Director of the bank, said it only got 10 percent of the money it deposited with the CBN.

“We are not getting the money as quickly as we want them. We only get 10 percent of the money deposited. We are paying and collecting money. We are also loading our ATMs,” she said.

Mr. Jimoh Garuba, the representative of Sterling Bank, said: “As we speak, our Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are dispensing what we receive, which fluctuates most time.”


He said his bank received a minimum of N150 million from the CBN weekly to be shared among its branches in Abuja.

Ms. Arerepade Akagwe, the representative of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), said the bank had taken 70 percent of the old money it deposited with the CBN.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said the bank operators’ appearance before the committee was not a witch hunt exercise but a fact-finding on issues affecting the people.

“We need to know the actual facts regarding claims by a commercial bank that CBN has not released new notes and the counterclaim by the CBN that it has released same.


He berated the apex bank for giving a deadline on the old notes, saying it was worrisome that it is a time the country wanted to hold an election that it would consider changing the country’s legal tender.

Lawyer prays the court to restrain CBN’s phasing out of old naira notes

A Kano-based lawyer, Sunusi Umar Sadiq, has approached the Federal High Court in Kano to restrain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its governor, Godwin Emefiele, from making the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes cease to be legal tender by January 31, 2023.

The lawyer made the prayer in his ex-parte application in suit FHC/KN/CS/19/2023 filed on January 25, 2023.


Sadiq is the sole applicant while the CBN and Emefiele are the 1st and 2nd respondents in the suit.

He asked the court to stop the respondents pending the hearing and determination of his January 25, Originating Motion.

The prayer is as follows: “An order of interim injunction restraining the Respondents, pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Motion dated 25th January 2023, from making the existing N200, N500, and N1, 000 currency notes cease to be the legal tender in Nigeria by 31st January 2023, which currency notes are the ones largely in circulation now, are the ones issued by the various commercial banks in the country, and are the ones dispensed by the various Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

The applicant listed seven grounds for his application.


They include that “Up to 20th January 2023 the redesigned currency notes are not within any remarkable and substantial circulation as the commercial banks all over the country continue to issue the existing currencies.

“Likewise, the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) continue dispensing the same currency notes which the Respondents claim to intend to withdraw from circulation.

“The Respondents are very much aware of the scarcity of the newly redesigned currency notes and their unavailability to the general public so much so that the Respondents have to threaten the commercial banks with sanctions if they continue withholding the redesigned notes.

“The Respondents, similarly, upon realizing the infeasibility of making the newly redesigned currency notes available to the public within time, came up with a cash swap arrangement, effective from 23rd January 2023, to reach out to the rural and underserved areas.


“The Respondents, despite being aware of all these, still insist on 31st January 2023, to be the last day the now in circulation N200, N500, and N1, 000 will cease to be the legal tender.”

He argued further that the Ex Parte application is necessary because of the limited days remaining to the deadline imposed by the Respondents.

He added that there is not enough time within which the Respondents can be served, and the substantive application is heard.

“Moreover, unless this application is granted, the substantive suit will become a mere academic exercise.”


Sadiq stated in his supporting affidavit that the global standard best practice for changing or redesigning currency is to give a reasonable time within which the currency notes intended to be replaced will have been withdrawn from circulation by the normal bank and monetary operations.

He argued that even in Nigeria, that has been the practice from the 1970s to 2010s “with the exception of 1984, which exercise threw many into poverty to the present day.”

He contended further that there is no proof that the 31st January 2023 deadline will stop ‘individuals who have made currency fraud their main source of income’ or stop the payment or receipt of ransom by bandits and kidnappers” as hoped by the CBN.

In his view, “the only thing that is certain to come out of the intended action of the Respondents is that millions of innocent Nigerians will lose forever their hard-earned money.


“The 31st January 2023 was arbitrarily picked by the Respondents to be the day the existing legal tender will cease to be so. There is nothing magical or special about that date and replacing it with another reasonable date will not in any way disrupt the redesigning exercise.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the application.

The court is also yet to fix a date to hear the substantive suit where Sadiq is seeking six reliefs.

They include “A declaration that it is unlawful and unconstitutional for the Respondents to declare the existing N200, N500 and N1, 000 currency notes, which are currently largely in circulation, as no longer the legal tender of Nigeria by 31st January 2023.


“A declaration that the abrupt and arbitrary policy adopted by the Respondents to make the existing N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes that are widely in circulation now is a threat to national security and inimical to the national interest as same will cripple the economy and throw many more innocent Nigerians into poverty.

“An order restraining the Respondents from making the existing N200, N500, and N1, 000 currency notes cease to be the legal tender in Nigeria by 31st January 2023.

“An order compelling the Respondents to follow and comply with the Global Best Standard Practices for changing currency whereby the old ones are gradually withdrawn from circulation by not releasing them to the public once they get deposited in banks within a reasonable time that shall not be less than six months.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to receive the old notes till the closing of work on Tuesday, January 31.


In a chat with The Nation, Dr. Abdullahi Abubakar Kure, Director at the CBN and the team lead for the Abuja Monitoring team on the naira redesign, confirmed that as of yesterday, the last day for Nigerians to deposit their old notes is January 31.

Kure pleaded with Nigerians to “take their money to the banks before the end of business on Tuesday”.

He urged holders of the old notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to “use e-channels for payments”.

For residents of Abuja, he said “they should not have any problem except for the remote areas, who he said can use the POS to also remit money into their accounts.


Yesterday, many banks in Abuja witnessed a large volume of customers trying to use ATMs. At the Shoprite complex along Airport Road, Zenith and Stanbic IBTC banks had long queues of customers waiting to use the ATMs.

Many were forced to use the ATMs on Thursday when the Shoprite store had a network failure and demanded to be paid in cash.

On Friday, many residents along Airport Road scrambled to withdraw new notes for the weekend.

The city was tense on Friday following rumors that some banks had sent out messages to their customers that they cannot withdraw more than N20,000 a week.


This turned out to be a false alarm as nobody spoken to about the message could produce such a message.

A spokesman for the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisiobi, who admitted that he had heard the same rumors dismissed the claim and asked anybody with a such message to come forward with it.

Operators of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) also contributed to the tension in the city. They now charge between N350 and N400 for N15,000 new note cash withdrawals.

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