Naira redesign: Kogi customers keep vigil at banks as struggle to get new notes continues

The trauma of getting new and old naira notes got messier as customers have turned commercial banks into night vigil centres just to withdraw cash from the Automated Teller Machine, ATM.

DAILY POST observed that as of 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.

Customers who spoke to our correspondent have continued to finger commercial banks for deliberately hoarding the new naira notes from circulation despite the extension given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to return the old naira notes.

But the commercial banks had said the apex bank had not released enough new naira notes to take care of the large volume of customers hoping to swap old for new notes.

During a visit to some commercial banks, it was observed that customers sat by the corridors while some laid their heads, hoping the banks would stock their ATMs with the new naira notes later in the night or early in the morning.

Despite the security situation in the country, DAILY POST gathered that customers trooped to bank ATMs in Lokoja as early as 4 am to join queues just to withdraw the new naira notes.

As of Tuesday, DAILY POST gathered that only a few banks were able to dispense the new naira notes with a maximum withdrawal of N10,000 due to long queues.

A customer spotted in one of the banks as at 11:50 pm on Tuesday, identified as Elizabeth, said, “I have been here since morning looking for how to withdraw money, all to no avail. The money I used at the bank was my last kobo, hoping that when I get here, I will get something and go home. But look at me now; I am helpless. To make matters worse, I said let me try to see if the ATM will pay me since they said the bank normally stocks their ATM at night because of this currency scarcity.

“The ATM has swallowed my card. Where do I go from here? Will I (Elizabeth) now turn to an emergency beggar because of the lapses of our so called government. This is not what they promised us in 2015. Nigerians are suffering. The so called big men who they alleged to be stockpiling our money are not suffering from this scarcity. It is we the poor masses. How many of them did you see come and queue at the ATM? None of them. As I speak to you, I am really confused because I don’t know how I will trek from GT bank to Felele at this odd hours”.

DAILY POST also spoke to a Kogi State Polytechnic student who said he was at one of the banks to withdraw money for his transport and also stock his house with food. According to the student, the probability of going to school on Wednesday is low as he could not lay his hands on the old or new notes.

“I walked round Lokoja today hoping to get the new or old currency. You can’t find it as I speak to you. Many POS operators have shut down. Can you imagine somebody told me that if I want to get N5000 of the old currency, I will pay N1,000 charges. I have test tomorrow (Wednesday). How will I get to school? Does it mean I will miss my test. How did we find ourselves here? No bike man or Keke man will be willing to take transfer. Talking of transfer, is there good network to do online transactions. The government must do something before this leads to total breakdown of law and order. How can somebody work hard for his money and can’t have access to it? This is disheartening,” he said.

In Lokoja, to get N10,000 new naira notes, customers must pay N2,000 extra changes. A Point of Sales (POS) operator, who did not want his name mentioned, told DAILY POST that they have been buying the new naira notes from banks in the capital hence the need for the exorbitant charges.

A financial expert, Ikechukwu Mpama, who spoke to DAILY POST, said the current scarcity is inflicting more pain on Nigerians alongside the fuel scarcity.

He admonished the Central Bank of Nigeria to sanction any commercial bank sabotaging the government’s effort towards ensuring the smooth circulation of the new notes.

Naira redesign: Kogi customers keep vigil at banks as struggle to get new notes continues

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