Sokoto residents have begun to worry over the scarcity of new naira notes.
Traders in major markets and shop owners in Sokoto metropolis, Northwest region Nigeria have even begun rejecting the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, SaharaReporters reports.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had stipulated January 31, 2023, as the deadline for issuance and circulation of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations of the country's currency following the introduction of new banknotes.
SaharaReporters had reported that with a few weeks to the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the use of the old naira notes, a cross-section of Nigerians across the country have lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes.
A visit to some markets on Tuesday afternoon in Sokoto revealed that eight out of every 10 traders in the state no longer accepted the old naira notes as legal tenders.
“The reason I am not collecting that old money again is because I have more than N100,000 old currency that I am yet to deposit to the bank. Whenever I visit the bank, the population is always many. In fact, this Monday I spent more than 8 hours on a queue, yet it did not reach my turn,” a trader, who simply identified himself as Yusuf, explained to SaharaReporters.
Further checks by SaharaReporters showed that Nigerians were seen in long queues in various bank branches in the state to beat the January 31 deadline.
Even though, as of Tuesday afternoon, considerable number of banks started dispensing new banknotes to customers at the banking hall, some Automated Teller Machines (ATM) still gave out the old naira to customers.
SaharaReporters had reported that amid the rising demand for the new naira notes, the CBN dismissed speculations over the inadequacy of the new notes in the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), saying the banks had enough new notes to circulate across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline when old notes would cease to be a legal tender.
The CBN also clarified that it did not ban the banks from paying customers the new notes over the counter, pointing out that the directive to the banks to dispense new notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATM) was to complement over-the-counter transactions and increase the circulation of the redesigned notes.
Meanwhile, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, insisted on Tuesday that there would be no extension of the deadline for the deposit of old versions of the redesigned Naira notes after January 31, 2023 despite plea from various stakeholders, including the Senate to reconsider the deadline date to allow many Nigerians to deposit millions of the old currency in their custody.