With less than two weeks to the expiration date of the old naira notes, the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN embarked on an enlightenment campaign to educate traders on the need to begin to accept the new banknotes as legal tender for their daily transactions at the popular Ogbe Ogonogo market in Asaba, Delta state even as the traders vehemently protested against the scarcity of the naira notes.
The branch controller, CBN, Asaba, Godwin Okafor who was accompanied by Nneka Odua of the currency department, disclosed that the enlightenment exercise would take place in major markets across Nigeria, and urged the traders to embrace the redesigned naira notes as the January 31 deadline for the expiration of the old naira notes remains.
But the traders in their numbers who staged protest on the dearth of the new bank notes, expressed fears of accepting the counterfeit of the new naira notes.
One of the traders, Awele Nwabueze who deals in ground nut oil, disclosed that traders are skeptical in accepting the new naira notes because of the perceived danger in accepting counterfeit from unsuspecting customers, adding that the texture of the new banknotes appears fake.
“It’s too light when you feel it with your hands. It looks fake as the colour blend of the new naira notes doesn’t look appealing. I wonder why government decide to change the naira notes, ” she said.
Mathew Oyeje who trades in foot wear vowed never to accept the new banknotes from his customers until every Nigerian begin to use it for their daily transactions.
He disclosed that some traders in the market were recently paid with fake new naira notes, adding that the traders only became aware that the money fake when they made deposit at the bank. “Imagine the colossal lose the traders had suffered. Who would bore the brunt?”
However, a food vendor at the end of the market, Nnbesi said the new banknotes are not in circulation, adding that if the government is serious with the hurriedly implemented policy, there should be enough of the currency in circulation, adding that at the moment, only a fraction of the currency are in circulation, thereby leaving the average Nigerians to scramble for it.
It would be recalled that the New diplomat reported that ATMs in major cities in Nigeria are still dispensing old naira notes even as banks in the country still dispense old banknotes over the counter.
This fear of the new banknotes being available even to rural dwellers elicited the intervention of the Nigerian Senate, through a motion passed in her last plenary session in 2022 by Senator Ali Udume from Borno South, seeking an extension of the January 31 deadline.
As at the time of filling this report, ATMs in cities in Nigeria still dispense old banknotes just as bank customers are currently being paid with the old naira notes.