Four days after the expiration of the February 10 naira swap deadline by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the old naira denominations of N200, N500 and N1,000 are no longer acceptable as legal tender by commercial banks and filling stations in lbadan, the Oyo State capital.
Investigations carried out by this reporter showed that major oil marketers in the state, in particular, are declining acceptance of the old notes from commercial transporters and private motorists.
A tryclisist plying the ever-busy Ojoo to Bere route of the city, who spoke to this reporter under anonymity, said, “the scarcity of the naira notes has taken a dangerous twist from bad to worse, as major oil marketers in the state are no longer willing to collect the old notes from us. They are also complaining that banks are not collecting deposits of the old notes from them.
“I can tell you sincerely that most of us might be off the roads if no oil marketer is willing to collect the old notes from us. It’s as bad as that.”
Another taxi-cab driver plying Mokola to U.I, who also did not want his name mentioned in print, said, “the government is making things very difficult for everyone. We have been making necessary sacrifices since the issue of fuel crisis started last year, and now it’s naira notes palavar.
“We are been put under severe tension beyond our mental capacity. Believe me, most of us are still collecting the old naira notes because that’s what is still in circulation. The new notes are not much in circulation. So, if we collect the old notes from passengers, and them filling stations and banks are rejecting them, where do we take them to? The government and CBN should handle this matter with utmost wisdom to avoid wild reactions from the masses.”
Meanwhile, Points of Service (PoS) operators in different parts of the city, interviewed by this reporter, confirmed that not a few are still dispensing the old naira notes to customers.
One of them who spoke this reporter under condition of anonymity, said, “Yes, man must whack. We have to survive. We’re doing our business with old naira notes, and people are eager and happy to collect them because the new notes are not yet in circulation. Though banks are rejecting the old naira notes, our customers are still accepting them from us.”
Attempt by this reporter to speak to officials of some commercial banks in the city proved abortive as their main entrances were under lock and key as of the time of filing this report.
But when this reporter asked a security officer in one of the banks if the bank he is working for are still accepting old notes, he said, “The bank still collected the old notes from customers up till yesterday, February 13. It stopped collecting the old notes from customers based on orders from the CBN.”
Efforts also made by this reporter to speak to managers of some filling stations in strategic areas of the city did not yield positive results, as none of them was in the office.
It would be recalled that CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, February 13, reportedly had a closed-door meeting at the Villa. According to media reports, the meeting between the duo was the third in a series in recent times following the confusion caused by scarcity of the new notes.