As the January 31 deadline to phase out old naira notes approaches, a shortage of new notes across the country is taking its toll on Nigerians.
The heat continues to rise as House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila threatens to issue an arrest warrant for CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele for his refusal to comply with the House Committee’s invitation.
Commercial banks were forced to close their ATMs on Thursday due to shortages of the new banknotes in major cities Warri, Lagos, Abuja and Benin, the DAILY POST reported.
Deposit Money Banks has been battling a shortage of old notes amid a CBN directive that lenders should only load their ATMs with the new notes.
DAILY POST found that ATMs in the Central Business District, CBD, Kubwa, Gwarimpa and Utako areas of Abuja were not dispensing cash.
It’s the same situation in Ogun, Lagos, Warri, Port-Harcourt and Benin, as Nigerians scramble to get the new naira notes.
Israel Kona, a Lekki resident, said he was unable to obtain the new note when he visited the bank on Thursday.
“Most of the bank ATMs were closed due to the high demand for cash, so I had to make a teller withdrawal to get cash, but it was the old naira notes,” he said.
Simon Oluwa, a trader from Warri, said he couldn’t buy anything at the Udu street market because he didn’t have the new banknotes.
He also regretted that POS agents have suddenly stopped collecting the old coins due to the difficulty of obtaining the new naira notes.
“The situation Nigerians face on a daily basis is exhausting; some businesses on Udu street have started to refuse old banknotes, even the outlet operators,” he said.
Mr. Olawale Ayodele, a resident of Ogun State, expressed his frustration after he went to the main ATMs in Ota but could not find cash.
“I went around Ota until last night (Thursday) looking for cash at ATMs in this area, but I couldn’t get it. Honestly, the stress is not worth it. Can’t I withdraw my own money again? she wailed.
Emeka Michael, a lawyer from Abuja, revealed that the ATMs he visited in CBD, Garki, do not dispense cash.
“The situation is dire, to say the least; I had to go to several places within the CBD but couldn’t see any ATMs that dispensed cash. Honestly, ‘wahala’ is plenty for this country,” she said.