The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has appealed to Nigerians for patience, noting that the redesigned notes would circulate and be available.
As the February 10 deadline for exchanging old naira notes for new ones approaches, the central bank has vowed to abolish Point of Sale fees. On Friday, Emefiele made the appeal during a special media briefing on the new naira notes in Lagos. He witnessed the protests and arguments regarding the difficulty citizens were experiencing in obtaining the new notes.
“I understand the agitation and I’m begging in God’s name, we are on our knees begging people to please show understanding. They should be calm.
“In our meetings with the banks, we have told them to set up tents and chairs, give people numbers, which I’m sure some people will say it is old fashioned.
“But at this time that we’re trying to get the currency in circulation amongst everybody, people have to have numbers and they come in under a queueing arrangements that when you come in you get served, if it finishes, just be patient.
“By tomorrow, when you come back, they will start from where they stopped, you will not be cheated.
“Let’s just be calm and adopt a good queueing system, the assurance we give is that it will eventually go round.
“Eventually the limits will be raised and eventually the limits will be removed and people will be able to conduct their business transactions in a way that it has always been in the past,” Emefiele said.
On high charges by the Point of Sale agents on every transaction made by their customers, the apex bank governor urged banks to stop the charges on the PoS.
“I am going to be calling a meeting with the banks this evening or by tomorrow, if those charges go to or those charges have been charged through the bank, we are going to have an arrangement with even telcos to see how those charges can actually at this time be stopped.
“Those charges at this time should be stopped. So, if we know whatever you are making that you’re not making because we stopped it, we can collect it somewhere and look for a way to pay you.
“But we don’t want you to continue to create pain on those who want to use alternative channels when they cannot have cash in their pocket.
“We will go into this later this night or even tomorrow, we’re going to call a meeting of both the banks and the mobile networks; at this time nobody should be charged, if you are charged, we will need to know about it.
“But we would want this service to continue to be offered. Whatever it is in terms of volume and number that you have carried out. We will look for away to pay you your money,” he said.
According to NAN, the new naira notes (N200, N500, and N1,000) went into circulation on Dec. 15, 2022, after being introduced by President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on Nov. 23, 2022, in Abuja.
The CBN originally set Jan. 31 as the deadline for collecting obsolete naira notes, but then extended the deadline to Feb. 10. The CBN governor stated that the extension was made to assist Nigerians who had properly earned and trapped naira to deposit their money for exchange. The governor had directed banks to load the fresh naira notes onto their automated teller machines so that Nigerians could access them.