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Relief as banks pump out old notes

Sade Adewale Victor Akinkuolie
Jimoh Ahmed & Kayode Afolabi


Relief has come the way of traders, bank customers and members of the public as commercial banks yesterday complied with the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria to recirculate old N500 and N1,000 notes.

Earlier, the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa in company of the Senior Special Assistant to the state Governor on Strategy and Special Duties, Dr Doyin Odebowale and other members of the state team on Sensitization and Implementation of the Supreme Court judgement on the old naira had held talks with various associations at various markets in the state capital, Akure and sensitized them to accept the old notes.

Likewise on Monday, the Deputy Governor also held meeting with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and commercial banks in the state on the need to comply with the judgement of the Supreme Court.

At the various meetings, he said that the cash crunch had affected the economic lives of the people in the state.

To this end, traders, business owners and residents across the State and beyond are now trading with the old naira notes of N1000, N500.

Central Bank of Nigeria had on Monday directed commercial banks to release and accept the old N500 and N1000 notes from customers till December 23, 2023

 The Hope gathered that some filling stations, supermarkets and other business centers have started accepting the old  notes for business transactions.

Also, transporters, including motorcyclists, taxi and interstate drivers across the State who had earlier rejected the old notes from passengers were seen collecting them.

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Though, many banks customers were seen queuing in all the banks waiting to transact business, they told The Hope that they were happy to receive the old notes.

Traders in Ondo town described it as a good development that will reduce economic hardship in the State.

Speaking with The Hope, Kemi Omokehinde expressed joy over the directive from the CBN, saying scarcity of money has grossly affected her business.

Omokehinde noted that commercial banks and filling stations have started collecting the old naira notes from customers, also the market women are collecting as well.

Also speaking, Mr Alayo Durojaye said banks have started accepting the old N1,000 and N500 notes from depositors and Point-of-Service agents who flooded the bank to lodge their cash.

Leader of the Odosida traders, Madam Ige Akinwumi said market women have started collecting the old note as commercial banks promised to accept them.

One of the bank officials in Access Bank in Yaba, in Ondo who refused to be named, said they had commenced accepting the old naira notes as directed by the CBN.

Another official at the First Bank branch around the Yaba area assured customers that they will collect the old note.”

Bank customers were happy when banks in Ikare and Akungba complied with the Central Bank’s directive.

Reports from Owo, Ifon, Oka, Okeagbe and all the major towns in the district indicated the same story.

The harsh time created by the cash scarcity is gradually abating as normalcy is gradually returning to the system.

Although, amount of money being given to customers who had come to make withdrawals vary from banks to banks, some little deposits have also been coming in, The Hope learnt.

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A trader at the Oja Oba market in Owo, Mrs Monirat Kareem, in a chat with our reporter, confirmed that they have started receiving the old currencies along with the new ones.

Mrs Munirat Jaburata, a fish seller at Oja Oba in Ikare, expressed happiness over Emefiele’s decision, saying the economy will soon be buoyant when buying and selling are back.

A retired school principal from Isua Akoko, Jide Afolabi, appealed for palliative from the federal government to cushion the negative effects of naira scarcity, which had brought untold hardship to many Nigerians.

In Ore, the headquarters of Odigbo Local Government area of Ondo state, the residents expressed delight over the directives from President Mohammadu Buhari and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele urging banks to obey the court order.

Our correspondent who visited gathered that customers were  on long queue in the quest to deposit their money and at the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs.

A provision store owner, Mrs Seun Aluko said, the recent directives from the apex bank was a good one, but did not change the fact that people are really suffering.

“As you can see, we are on the queue since morning, to deposit our money, it is a problem.

“The directive from the apex bank Governor, is just a relief and that means there is still hope for us to deposit our earned money.

A bank official who spoke under the condition of anonymity after much lamentation from bank customers promised to attend to them without delay.

Report from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital said many traders, business owners, commercial drivers unions, service providers in the State were happy to trade with the old N500 and N1,000

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When our Correspondent visited some major markets within Ado-Ekiti metropolis, some traders were seen collecting and making transactions with the old naira notes.

Some traders and business owners who spoke with The Hope said they had earlier vowed not to collect the old notes from the residents until a clear direction from the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele.

According to Mrs Adesola Ojo, at the popular Oja-Oba market in Ado-Ekiti, lamented that the rejection of the old naira notes had brought a major setback to their sales.

On his part, Mr Nwafor Udu, who sells spare parts in the state capital told our Correspondent that the commercial banks made it difficult for them to accept the old notes.

Nwafor, who expressed his delight over the Supreme Court judgement and the subsequent directive from the CBN to the Commercial Banks also expressed optimism that as soon as banks begin the distribution of the old notes economic and commercial activities will rise again.

” You know the problem is the bank because they were not collecting it as deposit. But now that the CBN has instructed them to give the money to their customers, let us hope things will change.

When asked if he will accept the old naira notes, the 50-year-old trader said “Yes, since the Federal Government and the CBN have agreed to obey the Supreme Court judgement.

Similarly, a visit to some commercial banks in Ado-Ekiti, large usual crowded customers were seen queued up to gain entrance into the banking hall.

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