Despite earlier intervention by the Nigerian Senate, seeking an extension of the January 31st deadline for the phasing out of the old banknotes to 30th June, 2023, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started alerting Nigerians via SMS messages on its deadline date just as some depositors Besieged banks with bags stuffed with the old currency.
The CBN texted message reads:”Don’t wait till January 31, 2023, to deposit your old #200, #500, and #1,000 banknotes with your bank or agent. Visit www.cbn.gov.ng for more information.”
The New diplomat investigations revealed that most bulk counting rooms in the first generation banks have become a beehive of activities as depositors scrambled for turns to dump hidden old naira notes in order to beat the January 31st deadline earlier announced by the Apex bank.
Dayo Adedayo, an officer in one of the new generation banks at Ikorodu, Lagos, told The New diplomat that for two weeks running, they have been confronted with the challenge on how to control the huge traffic of depositors who were in haste to make deposit of humongous amount of money in the old currency.
In the same vein, an officer in one of new generation banks in Asaba, Delta state told our correspondent that officials of the bank had been under pressure in controlling the huge traffic of depositors who thronged the bank on daily basis to dispose old naira notes in the guise of deposit.
The situation is reported to be worse in the federal capital territory (FCT), Abuja as most banks that find it difficult to accommodate the huge traffic of depositors, only allowed a minimum of no fewer than five depositors into the bunk counting room on daily basis for security reasons.
An officer in one of the new generation banks in Abuja who would not want her names in print, disclosed that more officers have been deployed to the bulk counting room in order to meet the challenge, adding that closing time for workers at the department stretches to almost 10pm in the night.
Despite the CBN insistence on shifting ground, investigations also revealed that ATMs operated by banks still dispense old naira notes in contravention of the Apex bank early order just as Old currency are still being cashed at the counter of virtually all the banks in Nigeria.
Conversely, Lagos based forex trader, who gave his names as Godwin Ikechukwu, noted in dismay that the cash withdrawal limit has become a colossal failure as banks have failed to disclosed or report customers rushing to the bank to make huge deposit in old naira notes to the Economic and financial Crime Commission, EFCC for appropriate sanctions.
He recalled that one of the essence of the policy was to checkmate in flow of cash in circulation, tightened the nose of politicians who planned rigging the forthcoming general elections with cash inducement as well as making the payment of ransom to kidnappers a herculean task among others.
It would be recalled that the Senate earlier recommendation fellowed a motion raised by a member representing Borno South, Senator Ali Udume that the January 31st date would not be practicable as the lawmaker observed that only few banks in Yobe and Borno states have access to the new naira notes.
The latest warning by the Apex bank is indication that the January 31, 2023 deadline remains as entreaties by the lawmakers appeared to be ignored the CBN.