NEW NAIRA NOTES: Warri residents kick against January 31st deadline, reject CBN’s directive

“So, now if I want to buy pepper for N200 or chin-chin I will now ask the pepper seller for her account details to make the transfer? They should extend the deadline because it won’t work”

NEW NAIRA NOTES: Warri residents kick against January 31st deadline, reject CBN’s directive

…Say commercial banks still issue old Naira notes in Warri

In this report, GbaramatuVoice writes that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) latest directive which stipulates January 31st 2023, as deadline for the use of old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes as a legal tender currently generates ripple reactions in Warri area of Delta state.

When the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on October 26, 2022, initially announced that new Naira notes would be introduced to replace the current 200, 500, and 1,000 Naira notes, Nigerians were happy.

They were particularly happy because of the four reasons given by CBN for redesigning of the N200, N500 and N1, 000 banknotes.

These reasons going by reports from the nation’s apex bank include; one, the Naira note was redesigned to address the issue of individuals who have made currency fraud their main source of income. People who have hidden money they have stolen, for instance, would either find a way to change it by taking the money out or would not need it given the change in the value of the Naira. Secondly, the currency change also aims to deal a fatal blow to the growing kidnapping and ransom industry. Thirdly, the change in the notes will aid in lowering the rate of inflation. Fourth and lastly, the change in the Naira notes is also intended to control the amount of money in circulation.

ALSO READ: CBN places limit on cash withdrawal, N20,000 daily through POS

While the above reasons look good in principle, GbaramatuVoice however, recognizes that Warri residents, like their counterparts across all the states of the federation, are not comfortable with the suddenness and proximity of the January 31st deadline. Making it a reality to worry about is the awareness that it is coming at a time when the new Naira notes have not circulated.

The newspaper during a visit to some of the major markets in Warri, Delta state, on Wednesday, January 18, gathered that while many of the residents particularly traders were stoutly organized in their rejection and resistance of the new policy, others described the new directive as another example of Federal Government’s insensitivity on the plights of Nigerians. To the rest, the Federal Government should leave the old currency alone and fight endemic corruption in the country.

Airport Road, Effurun, Delta State

First to fire the missile against the new directive was a Warri-based legal practitioner, where he among other things described the latest directive by the CBN as executive rascality.

In his words; “The inconsiderate directive by the CBN Governor is yet another good testament of insensitivity of public office holders in the country. In fact, this particular one qualifies as executive recklessness. How could CBN come up with such a thoughtless deadline at a time when the new naira note has not circulated? And in a society where a cashless economy is not completely in operation? Who is advising this man called Dr. Emefiele, the CBN Governor? Why is CBN in a hurry whereas the Senate has in a unanimous resolution urged the Federal Government to extend the deadline for the return of the old currency from January 31, 2023, to June 30, 2023?

Pushing his argument home, the legal luminary told GbaramatuVoice; recall that very recently, the Senate while considering a motion titled, “Urgent need to extend the withdrawal of old currency from circulation,” sponsored by former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, agreed with Ndume who noted that the timing of the policy was wrong, noting that new notes are not in circulation even in cities not to talk of the rural communities . He concluded.

Igbo Market, Warri,

At Igbo market, a major market in the Warri, GbaramatuVoice crew sampled the opinions of shop owners, businessmen and women (buyers and sellers) in the market

Beginning with Mr. Chukwuemeka Ejiofor, he has this to say; “In my own view, even the new naira note is not too good. What I am saying in essence is that they should extend the deadline for the new naira note because as of now, even the bank giving us OLD money AND don’t have the new naira note and it is what we get from the bank that we return to them because we are business people. I believe 20 percent of the new naira note has not gotten to the market. So, it is of no use for them to put that deadline. Let them extend it from now till June. Maybe, before that time, everything must have been balanced.

Continuing, he told GbaramatuVoice that there is nothing beneficial about the new Naira note because we have many problems that are bigger than the new note. So the problem Nigeria has is not the new naira note.

OBIEBU COSMAS

For Mr. OBIEBU COSMAS, another Business MAN at the main market, the problem is that some commercial banks are still giving us old money. He however explained that he has no problem or constraint of any sort as all his money is in the bank, noting that the ONLY people that have issues are those keeping money at home. “The issue I had before was my mom who stayed in the village but I went to the village, took all her old currencies from her and deposited them in the bank and gave her the small new currency that I have with me. So as from next week now, If you give me old currency, I won’t take it because before this deadline came, there were targeted people but if you fall victim, u are the cause.

Those people who don’t have the privilege to visit banks shouldn’t wait till the deadline, and begin to reject the old naira note because in some villages there’s no bank. My message to CBN is that they should think about the old people in the village that don’t have children to help them.

CHIEF FELIX EZEIFEDI

We have to comply with what CBN has said. I am not afraid of it but the only problem we have now is that, when you go to the bank to collect money, they are still giving out the old money. My advice to my fellow Nigerians is that they should all go to the bank and deposit their money.

EVANG. SUNNY OFOMA:

For now, I have not seen anything that will make us prepare because it is too sudden. Even the new naira notes they are talking about I haven’t seen with my eyes. I am banking with Unity Bank. I always go there and I ask about the new naira note, they said that the new naira note is not available. Even today, I was with them, they are still saying the same thing. They should still give us enough time, like three months.

MR. HENRY

This new development on my own won’t work but I don’t know for others because it is hard. If you slot in your ATM card inside the ATM machine to make withdrawal, it still dispenses old money.

If this new development will favour us before we most of seen it but it will take time. My own opinion for the circulation of the new naira note is that, let CBN extend it first and think about it well because even if the deadline elapses the old money is still available. So let them extend the deadline till after the election because if they do it now it won’t help us.

My own advice for the Nigerian Government is that our problem is not to have new currency but to fight corruption first. The government thought the new currency was our problem just to extract the old currency from the people holding our money. For me let them fight corruption which is our problem. Even with the new currency they change, there’s no difference between the old one and the new one because to me they only added color to the new currency.

This government did not fight corruption and this currency they change is just to fight one particular person because our problem in Nigeria is not to change the currency but corruption.

BLESSING EGBELU:

What CBN is saying is not possible because if you go to the bank to withdraw money, maybe you want to withdraw 100,000, 95000 is old money and the new naira note will be 5000 of which it doesn’t work. One thing I reason is that they are doing it because of the election coming up. That is why they want to stop it so that those politicians won’t see the old currency to bribe during the election. Since the new naira note is not in circulation, there is something wrong.

My advice to CBN and the Nigeria Government is that, they should spread the new naira note or put people in place that will be monitoring the money, especially bank managers and politicians and they should extend the deadline till next year.

Main Market, Warri

MRS MERCY:

To be sincere with you, I don’t really like the new naira note because the money is fading and the new five hundred naira note looks like a two hundred naira note. Yesterday, I mistakenly used the five hundred naira note to buy something without taking change thinking it was two hundred naira note and moreover they said they have circulated the new naira note but I have not seen the money in the market. I prefer our old naira note we were using before.

MRS UMODE:

I will not have the new naira note before I deposit my old naira note. They brought a new naira note and we are not seeing it.

For instance, now, a customer wants to buy something from you and he or she has only one new naira note, so there is no way you won’t accept the old naira note. How are we going to feed and sell if we don’t accept the old naira note because we are not seeing the new naira note?

Since the Nigeria Government didn’t consult the masses before changing the old naira note, let them make sure the new naira note circulates everywhere because they would have asked the masses on the new development before going ahead to change the money. And the old naira note is even better than the new naira note because the new currency looks like paper and is fading. There will be enough counterfeit in this new currency and they will use it to scam plenty of people.

Mrs FLORENCE:

Mrs Florence, a business woman who spoke in ‘Pigin English’ at Warri Main Market to GbaramatuVoice that this issue of new naira notes is going on does not have a head because the government did not try at all.

The only way they could help us, is to give us enough time for the new naira note to be circulated, that’s the only way we will know that there’s a new naira note because for somebody like me, I don’t know if there’s a new naira note in Nigeria, I have not set my eyes on the new currency, am still accepting the old naira note my customers are giving me. There’s nothing the government will do about the deadline because they most surely put enough time. They suppose to hear from the masses before they bring new currency. He concluded.

Anonymous Respondent

Since they can’t make the new naira note available, they should forget about the new money, let us continue with our old money.

Another Anonymous Respondent

The last time I went to the bank, it was the same old money they paid me with. For instance, you are withdrawing ten Thousand Naira (N10,000), they will give you only four (4) pieces of the new note, saying that the new naira note hasn’t gotten to the bank.

For me I like the old money more than the new one because the new naira note is watching off, I did the experiment in my house. Let them leave the old money because the new one looks like a fake currency. My advice to the CBN and Nigeria Government is that they should take the new naira note back and allow us to use our old naira note.

MADAM BLESSING:

All I have to say concerning this new Naira note is that, CBN did not circulate the money yet Emefiele is issuing deadline. We that are traders, we cannot sell because of this new Naira note issue. If customers want to buy goods with the old Naira note, I will be thinking of the deadline.

“Banks are supposed to be giving out the new Naira notes but they are still giving us the old Naira notes. May be they have the money and they are hiding it from us.

“The CBN and Nigeria Government that brought this new Naira notes should circulate this money to the different banks, so that they will be able to give us the new Naira note, and then, take the old Naira note from us. By then, the new naira note will circulate.

“The deadline they put in place won’t work except they want us to be hungry because if you go to the bank you can’t receive the old Naira note or new Naira note from the bank. So, now if I want to buy pepper for N200 or chin-chin I will now ask the pepper seller for her account details to make the transfer? They should extend the deadline because it won’t work,’ she concluded.

Without doubt, the GbaratuVoice as a media organization believes and supports the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to have the Naira redesigned based on the above reasons as advanced by CBN. However, looking at the fears expressed by those interviewed by our crew, which of course, cannot be described as unfounded, the newspaper therefore, calls on the Federal Government to extend the deadline as the present date is obviously uncomfortable to many.

GbaramatuVoice also used this opportunity to advise both the nation’s apex bank and the Federal Government on the urgent need for more sensitization of the people on the need to embrace redesigned Naira notes.

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