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Naira Redesign: Masses Bear Brunt as New Notes Unavailable at Banks, ATMs

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…PoS Operators Charge 20% for Naira withdrawals

By Nath Gbaoron, Lafia, Abdulwaheed Olayinka Adubi, Kaduna and George Kajo, Makurdi

Nigerian masses are the ones mostly bearing the brunt of the new CBN Naira redesign policy as the notes are unavailable at Banks and ATMs leaving people confused and angry.

Our correspondent who visited some banks in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, observed long queues in most of the banks.

Some of the banks visited were: United Bank for Africa (UBA), First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Ecobank, and Zenith Bank all along Jos road Lafia.

A customer at the GTB, Sam Abdul said that it was unfortunate that the banks had not been meeting customers’ demands.

He accused bank agents of selling cash to ATM operators with 10 percent interest which they in turn give to customers at the rate of 20 percent interest.

A bank staff at the First Bank who pleaded anonymity said “We don’t know what our Superiors are doing, they don’t want us to give money to customers and I can assure you that there is cash but they have a particular class of people they’re giving the cash to,” the bank staff said.

Kaduna Residents Fume

Many Kaduna residents are currently in a state of dilemma following the failure of many Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in the city of Kaduna to dispense cash, while the few dispensing were seen with long queues.

Our reporter also reported that some banks visited were not also attending to customers, as they were being referred to the ATM around the banks to withdraw cash.

It was however, noted that the situation in Kaduna has also degenerated to a level where some of the Point of Service (PoS) operators extort their customers due to the scarcity of naira notes.

It was also gathered by our correspondents that some of the banks are allegedly selling the notes to PoS operators in exchange for a percentage.

Some residents who spoke to our reporter called on the government to urgently address the situation.

“We are in pain, things are getting worse,” they said.

Makurdi Residents Groan Under Currency Scarcity

Residents of Makurdi the Benue state capital are groaning under scarcity of currency in the course of daily transactions.

MoneyCentral checks revealed that Banks have placed limitations of N10,000 on over the counter withdrawals after customers waited long times on the queue, to no avail.

The Point On Sale (POS)operators are also cashing in on the situation to exploit customers.

A POS operator located opposite Kenville Park High Level Makurdi, Mr Jonathan Gbatar confided in our correspondent that “we use to buy the currency at a very high cost. So, we have to charge N100 per N1,000 withdrawals so as to make profit.”

Jonathan said, security agents go after them at one of the Banks if found with more than one ATM card, saying it was not their fault that Banks are not dispensing currently as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Efforts to get the views of the Branch Controller of CBN Makurdi office proved abortive.

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