For Nigerians, especially small-scale company owners like POS operators who operate their businesses with cash, the lack of new Naira notes in the nation has made life more difficult for them.
Things got worse when the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered that old Naira notes could no longer be used as legal tender by Nigerians, and commercial banks stopped collecting them.
Some Nigerians are frantically attempting to deposit their old Naira notes before the Central Bank of Nigeria’s deadline, while others are occupied with withdrawing or spending new Naira notes.
Many Nigerians have fallen victim to fate. They work with or support entrepreneurs who take transfers or ATM points. Instead of standing in enormous lines at banks, they would prefer to wait for hours for business owners to authenticate transactions.
Nonetheless, many Nigerians spend more time at ATM locations within bank buildings since they are likely forced to trade in cash and are unable to pay super POS operators hefty fees.
Some Nigerians leave their homes and workplaces to spend the night at bank facilities, while others show up very early to have easy access to ATM points.
In the early hours of Thursday, February 16, this reporter left his residence and visited several commercial banks. What he observed was more than just ugly. Others slept on the bare floor, while others were spotted loitering in front of the bank’s premises, in addition to others who were sitting on the small stairs leading to the ATM.
Also, this reporter learned that some residents resided in residential buildings next to these banks while others were permitted to stay in security buildings. When this writer entered First City Monument Bank, there were two lists (FCMB).
There were two lists: one for people who kept their money in the bank, and the other for people who used other banks in the city. While individuals who use ATM cards from other banks will only be able to withdraw N8,000, those who use FCMB banks will be able to withdraw N20,000.
Our reporter noticed a man who appeared to be in his late 50s leaning his back on a wall and consciously scanning the area in a fearful or horrified manner as he got closer to the ATM locations. The individual eventually identified as Kunle claimed that he slept on the bank’s property and was assigned number 7 on the queue because he awoke late.
While recounting his predicament, Kunle said that as of Tuesday evening, he was out of cash and that his kids would need to bring some cash to school as well.
I’m not at all pleased. Since last week, I have been purchasing products on credit. I would not be here if my wife and one of the small-time merchants I owe money to did not fight. I’m resolved to withdraw N20,000 so that I can pay off my bills. He said, “I dozed off here after sleeping here to be the first to withdraw money.
In order to easily withdraw money, another inhabitant who went by the name Rotimi and who also stayed on the bank’s property spoke with WITHIN NIGERIA.
Rotimi, a 37-year-old panel beater, complained about the poorly executed new Naira redesign strategy and questioned why the Central Bank of Nigeria, led by Godwin Emefiele, did not offer better substitutes or for both the old and new Naira notes to be accepted as legal tender for a full year.
I don’t make a lot of money. The small amount of money I make each day is all that keeps my family alive. In fact, my family often goes without food if I don’t arrive home. We buy food every day because we lack the resources to purchase big quantities of it. How am I going to get by without money? Moreover, I am unable to withdraw N5000 from super POS operators with N700. So that’s why I got here early, Rotimi said.
The panel beater and father of three girls made an appeal to the federal government led by President Buhari, stating that the poor would be relieved and there would be joy if additional Naira notes could be issued and old ones could be circulated as legal cash.
Another local, Solomon, who arrived at the bank’s location at two in the morning, told this reporter that he wanted to withdraw money to pay for expenditures he incurred, including those related to mending his car.
According to Solomon, who claimed to have survived on transfers and ATM cards while adhering to a cashless policy, some artisans do not receive transfers but rather cash.
Solomon added that while using bank transfers, there were times when he had to wait several hours before his recipient could validate these alerts.
The 42-year-old public worker who lauded the strategy blamed its flaws on inadequate implementation and inappropriate timing. Before people can recognize the benefits that come with it, we need to restore our network infrastructures, make transfers appealing to people with lower prices, among other things.
There was no need for the rush. And the timing is off. How many members of the elite or politicians have we seen in the lines? They swap these old notes through a back door, and I think they are already storing the new Naira notes as well. Even while this policy is great, it has made life difficult for the poor, and only God knows what the current situation is for those who live in rural areas.
Beside Mr. Solomon was a resident by the name of Adeyemi, who left Iperindo, a neighborhood in Atakunmosa West Local Government, early on Thursday to withdraw N20,000 from Ilesa town.
Adeyemi, who arrived at the bank’s premises at 5:30 am, informed this reporter that since the CBN ordered the redesign of Naira notes, he has not been happy.
Iperindo is a remote community, claims Adeyemi. There isn’t a business bank there. Few residents use banks, and the majority aren’t even familiar with how to transfer money. We mostly deal in cash, thus POS operators have been quite helpful when sending transfers to folks outside of our neighborhood.
The makeover of naira notes has a significant impact on us. Hundreds of our people still have old Naira notes in their possession as I speak to you because they were unable to exchange them within the CBN’s allotted time. Mothers in particular are in a lot of dread and hardship. The difficulties they have had since January 31 till this point are by no means minor, Adeyemi continued.
Adeyemi said the poor are main sufferers of this policy since the rich always have backdoors for everything while pleading with the federal government to extend the deadline and permit commercial banks to accept deposits of N500, N1000 until December.
Taofeek, a 27-year-old guy, revealed that he slept inside the bank because he wanted to withdraw money quickly and easily.
When Taofeek described his experiences leading up to his decision to spend the night in the bank, he claimed that the ATMs no longer issue cash when it is his turn to use them.
The father of two argued that the hefty fees charged by the POS operators prevent him from using them, but he insisted that there is nothing he can do except come and spend the night here in order to be able to withdraw money for debt repayment.
I don’t have a penny in my pocket. In fact, if these ATMs won’t give out cash, I have no idea how to get home. Last night, I rode my bike here and used my final card to get water. I simply hope that today will be a lucky day. A really irate man said, “I’m done.
A 63-year-old woman named Sarah was obviously upset when she was contacted by the reporter because she had left her house at around 4:00 am on Wednesday to wait in front of an automated teller machine at First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Ilesa.
The retired school principle was upset because she had left her house at 4:00am on Wednesday, was given the number “53,” and had to leave the bank’s premises at 4:30pm despite arriving there at 4:00am. Each ATM did not dispense money.
On Thursday morning at 4:00, she arrived back home. She was assigned queue position number “88.” She was leaning her back against a railing next to the FCMB ATM home when the reporter approached her to ask her about the state of the nation at the time.
Fasipe Sarah, a resident of Irojo Street in Ilesa who had to pay an additional price for a bikeman to take her to the bank’s location, grumbled vehemently about the state of affairs in the nation.
The retired school principal who is now selling pure water informed this reporter that the poorly executed revisions to the Naira note policy had a detrimental effect on her business because she was unable to continue selling sachets of pure water owing to a lack of funds.
She bemoaned the current state of affairs while relating that, as a corper under Buhari’s military rule, she had experienced similar challenges, which were made worse by the absence of transfer, ATM, and POS machines at the time.
For necessities like soap and Iyan Buhari flour, among others, there were lengthy lines. It was a very difficult time. That we are still in the same scenario after 40 years is unfortunate. An extremely irate woman claimed that numerous businesses have suffered significantly as a result of the policy’s poor execution.
The retiring principal, who is now a purewater seller, acknowledged that the policy is a good one but claimed that its implementation makes fun of it.
The redesign of the naira note was intended to target the wealthy and politicians who raise money for campaigns. Regrettably, these people are not even somewhat impacted. I haven’t noticed any politicians or wealthy people in the line. I was shocked to see them spraying musicians with fresh Naira notes during a politician’s funeral last weekend. This demonstrates that the poor are the policy’s primary sufferers, she continued.
The retiring principal stated that she will no longer receive old Naira notes due to the stress connected with switching from old notes to new ones, while encouraging the federal government to step up the printing and distribution of new Naira notes into markets.
The former principal added that everything would pass into history just like the dangerous COVID era while attributing difficulties on the Buhari-style of government.
Nigerians are incredibly resilient individuals. Even if conditions were difficult during COVID, people were nevertheless able to eat and live decently. People now find it difficult to feed and live healthily due to the new Naira note scarcity because COVID has been eliminated. She emphasized that we would endure this awful time if we could survive 1983 when Buhari was the head of state.
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