As the January 31 deadline to phase out old naira notes inches closer, the new banknotes’ shortage across the country takes its toll on Nigerians.
The heat continues to mount as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, threatens to issue an arrest warrant on CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele over his refusal to honor the House Committee’s invitation.
Commercial banks on Thursday were forced to shut down their ATMs over a shortage of the new banknotes in major cities, including Warri, Lagos, Abuja, and Benin, the Daily Post learned.
Deposit money banks have been battling a shortage of old banknotes amid a directive by the CBN that lenders should only load their ATMs with the new notes.
Naijacrawl found that ATMs in the Central Business District (CBD, Kubwa, Gwarimpa, and Utako areas of Abuja were not dispensing cash.
It is the same situation in Ogun, Lagos, Warri, Port-Harcourt, and Benin as Nigerians scramble with the pains of getting the new naira notes.
Israel Kona, a resident of Lekki, said he could not get the new note when he visited the bank on Thursday.
“Most banks’ ATMs have been shut down due to the high demand for cash, so I had to make an over-the-counter withdrawal to get cash, but it was the old naira notes,” he said.
Simon Oluwa, a trader in Warri, said he could not buy anything at the market on Udu Road because he did not have the new notes.
He also lamented that point-of-sale agents have suddenly stopped collecting the old currencies over the difficulty of getting the new naira notes.
“It is tiring, the situation Nigerians face daily; some businesses at Udu Road have started rejecting the old notes, even POS operators," he said.
Mr. Olawale Ayodele, a resident of Ogun State, expressed frustration after he went to major ATMs in Ota but could not find cash.
“I went around Ota until last night (Thursday) looking for cash at the ATMs around this area but could not get any. Honestly, the stress is not worth it. "I cannot withdraw my own money again.” He lamented.
Emeka Michael, a lawyer in Abuja, disclosed that ATMs he visited in the CBD, Garki, were not dispensing cash.
“The situation is terrible, to say the least; I had to go several places within the CBD but could not see any ATMs dispensing cash." "Honestly, 'wahala' is plenty for this country," he said.