Despite a directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the redesigned naira notes, financial institutions in many states are still giving their customers the old notes, Daily Trust reports.
The CBN on Thursday asked the citizens to reject old naira notes from commercial banks, insisting they cease to be legal tender on January 31.
The apex bank had since Friday, January 12, asked banks to stop giving customers old N1, 000; N500 and N200 notes but checks by our correspondents in many states revealed that most of the banks have not complied.
Deputy Director, Currency Operation, CBN, Rekiyat Yusuf, made the call for Nigerians to reject to old notes in Lokoja, Kogi State Capital, while sensitising market men and women about the redesigned naira notes.
She said any bank caught dispensing old notes to customers henceforth would be sanctioned.
She was responding to a concern by a customer that banks were still dispensing old naira notes via ATMs.
She said, “If banks give you old notes, reject it and return it to them and report the bank to us immediately for appropriate action. We have given them enough new currency notes to dispense to replace the old ones in circulation.
“There is no reason for banks to still be stocking their automated teller machines with old notes as the apex bank has made enough redesigned notes available for dispensing to members of the public. Any bank caught would be made to face appropriate sanction.”
Similarly, CBN Director of Currency Operations, Ahmed Bello Umar, who addressed traders at the Katsina Central Market yesterday, said the CBN had enough new naira notes, which had since been distributed to commercial banks for onward disbursement to their customers through ATMs.
He noted that the CBN had last Friday “Directed that all ATMs must carry only new notes. If the banks don’t have the new notes, they should not load the old notes.
“We’re going round towns and cities in Nigeria to ensure that all the ATMs are loaded with new notes. And there’s relaxation on the policy, they can dispense any of the notes either N1, 000, N500 or N200 notes.
ATMs dispensing old notes in Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa, Sokoto, others
Our correspondents, who visited some of the ATM points in Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa, Sokoto and Adamawa states yesterday, observed that most of the machines were still dispensing old notes; while some mixed them with new ones.
Traders in Kano State, including those at the popular Wapa Bureau de Change market, expressed fears over the CBN’s deadline on the old naira notes. They said their clients were rejecting the old naira notes.
Some of the forex dealers, who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday when CBN officials went to the market to sensitise traders on the deadline, lamented that the new notes were not available in most of the banks.
Traders at Galadima, Sabongari, Kantin Kwari, Wambai and Kurmi markets also complained of the scarcity of the new notes.
The chairman of the Sabon Gari Market Traders Association, Alhaji Sule Umar Kura urged the CBN to make the new notes available to commercial banks.
The CBN Kano Branch Controller, Umar Ibrahim Biu, also said defaulting banks would be sanctioned.
But when our correspondent visited some ATM points in Kano, it was discovered that none was dispensing the new naira notes.
The Unity Bank’s branch on Lagos Street, which shares the same fence with CBN office, was not dispensing cash on both ATM around 6pm. This situation is also similar to First Bank’s branch opposite CBN’s office on the same street.
At Zenith Bank’s branch on Zoo road, it was discovered that the machines, about four of them were all dispensing old naira notes.
The CBN Kano Branch Controller, Umar Ibrahim Biu said the apex bank would not hesitate to sanction commercial banks that are hoarding or frustrating the policy.
He said the Apex bank had also directed commercial banks to desist from payment on the counter as part of efforts to check favouritism of customers.
In one of the banks at the University of Lagos, one ATM dispensed new notes of N, 000 mixed with N500 notes while others were dispensing old notes.
Cattle traders reject new notes for fear of counterfeiting
Cattle traders at the weekly Mararraban Liman Katagum market in Bauchi State, during the sensitization by the CBN officials yesterday, appealed for extension of the Naira Redesign deadline, alleging activities of Point of Sale (POS) fraudsters targeting unsuspected Fulani herders and others in the state.
Chairman, Mararraban Liman Katagum Cattle Traders and Dealers (Sarkin Tike) Association, Hashimu Isah, said many fraudulent POS operators had flooded local markets swindling herders who brought cattle to the market for sale.
Responding, CBN Controller in Bauchi, represented by Director, Medical Services, Abdulkadir Jibril, said the apex bank’s Consumers Protection Department had deployed ambassadors and agent bankers to liaise with local leaders to ensure imposters do not cheat the rural dwellers.
“Through these agents, appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that people get their monies safely into the banks without necessarily going to commercial banks inside the cities,” he said.
Reconsider January 31 deadline, Sultan urges CBN
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday advised the CBN to reconsider the January 31 deadline on the naira policy.
He gave the advice in his palace while receiving the CBN Comptroller in charge of Sokoto State, Dahiru Usman, who led officials to intimate him and seek his advice on the redesigned naira notes.
He said: “We still have people who don’t know that our naira was redesigned. They could reject the new naira notes when given. If they see the colour, they will think it is a fake currency.
“The CBN ought to have considered stakeholders right from the day the redesign was announced. We have credible means to step down the information to the common man because the conventional media is for the elite.”
The sultan also cited insecurity, saying some people could not move large sums of money from their villages to banks in the city because they could be robbed or kidnapped along the way.
No going back on deadline -CBN
Meanwhile, the CBN yesterday insisted there would be no going back on the January 31 deadline for phasing out the use of the old naira notes.
Team Leader, CBN Monitoring Team Group C, Owugar Comfort Akinbode, reiterated this while answering questions from journalists in Makurdi, Benue State Capital.
She said: “We want compliance in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. That’s why our team is here. We want the money to get to the masses; that is why we are very interested in this exercise, especially to check their ATMs, to see if they’re dispensing the new notes.”
She said the pay points of the banks visited, including Access and Union Banks were dispensing the new notes.
By Sunday M. Ogwu (Abuja), Clement A. Oloyede (Kano), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Tijani Labaran (Lokoja), Abubakar Auwal (Sokoto), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Hope A. Emmanuel (Makurdi), Ismail Adebayo (Birnin Kebbi), Tijjani Ibrahim (Katsina), Kabiru R. Anwar (Yola),Umar Muhammed (Lafia) & Bassey Willie (Yenagoa)