New naira notes : CBN pegs daily withdrawal across counter at N20,000 as APC govs meet Buhari
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Thursday directed banks to commence immediate over-the-counter cash payments to their customers.
But it pegged the daily amount at N20,000.
It is to reduce queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) terminals across the country.
Also on Thursday, the Federal Government implored Nigerians to see the current scarcity of the naira as a temporary sacrifice for a saner national economy.
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Just as the directive and admonition emerged from Abuja, Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai, revealed that All Progressives Congress (APC) governors would meet today with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the naira redesign policy.
He said the governors would plead for an extension of the deadline for the swap of old notes to new ones beyond February 10.
El-Rufai, who was featured on Arise TV, said the progressives governors would present to the President, information on the hardship being faced by Nigerians in their states as a result of the redesign policy.
Although some banks started complying with the early morning CBN directive yesterday, many in Lagos still boldly told their customers that they had no cash.
At the few that had their ATMs working, scores of customers shoved and pushed themselves as they struggled to be in lines.
On Lagos Island, for instance, a group of persons protested from one bank branch to another.
In spite of the lingering cash scarcity, a bandit kingpin in Kaduna State released a video in which he was seen bragging that he had about N10 million of the new notes at home.
Shortly before the video, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) announced the arrest of a woman for allegedly colluding with “key elements” in the financial sector to divert and sell the new notes in the black market.
In the latest directive, the CBN urged Nigerians “to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions”.
The apex bank also urged Nigerians in the statement by its Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, “to exercise patience as the CBN is working assiduously to address the challenge of queues at ATMs”.
Nwanisobi said the bank had noted “ an upward trend in cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes” as well as “cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.”
According to him, those who stock and aggregate the new notes for reasons best known to them risked being arrested.
The CBN spokesman also warned Nigerians, “particularly those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings and funerals to desist from disrespecting the Naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.”.
A part of the statement reads: “In line with this resolve, the Govenor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBS) to commence the payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.
“We also admonish members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions.”
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As of 2pm yesterday, customers of United Bank for Africa (UBA) on Ralph Sodehinde Street, Central Business District Abuja, started receiving N20,000 cash from over the counter but in lower denominations.
On that same street, Wema Bank did not pay over the counter but had a manageable crowd at its ATM points.
Zenith Bank on the same Ralph Sodehinde Street and in AMAC Plaza, Wuse Zone 3, did not pay over the counter. Their ATMs were also not dispensing cash.
Access Bank within the Federal Secretariat was, however, paying N50,000 over the counter in N50 naira denomination. But its ATMs were not dispensing cash.
At its National Assembly branch, neither the tellers nor the ATMs paid cash to distraught Nigerians.
In Lagos, some banks rationed payments to their customers.
At Sterling Bank, Matori branch, customers got only N10,000 across the counter in the morning hours. But the bank’s ATMs were not dispensing cash.
In some other banks, payments by tellers were limited to between N3,000 and N5,000 per customer.
Many ATMs on Awolowo Road, Falomo, Ikoyi were not dispensing cash.
Protest, however, erupted in Marina, Lagos Island with customers moving in groups from one bank branch to another singing: “All we are saying, give us new notes.”
The spokesperson for the group was captured in a video saying: “We are in front of Wema Bank, we just passed UBA, we are going to the headquarters of all banks.
“The new naira notes belong to all of us. We have gone to ATMs, but we cannot access them. We have gone to banks, we cannot access the new naira notes.
“We are aware that the CBN has made available the new naira notes to the banks, and that is why the civil society leaders have taken it upon themselves to storm various banks, to tell them to stop suffering Nigerians.”
In some branches, some customers fought one another while waiting in line for cash.
At one of the new-generation banks, two male customers fought themselves and threw dangerous items in the banking hall.
At another bank, a set of customers also got into a fight over attempts by one to use different cards for ATM withdrawals.
ICPC arrests ‘serial entrepreneur’
A woman, Oluwadarasimi Emma, who describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur,” was arrested by the ICPC for selling new notes via social media.
The spokesman for the ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, announced the arrest through a statement.
Bandit leader flaunts new notes
Baleri, a bandit kingpin, said in a video that he acquired sacks of the new notes to buy arms and ammunition
In the video, Baleri could be seen alongside some armed men displaying N1000 and N200 notes.
He said: “We want to send a message to Nigerians, their leaders, and the masses, to be fair and just because of God and his holy prophet.”
“All the tribalism that is happening in the country will not solve anything unless things are done because of God.
“They (the government) redesigned the naira, poor people who are innocent don’t even know about it. Some don’t even own up to N10,000. He has to wake up early in the morning to go and hustle.
“The money they are saying people are changing, we that are in the bush are changing it, some people who are in the cities haven’t even received it.
“But you see, the people they are referring to as terrorists have hold of the money. This is the new N1000 note, this is the new N200 note.
“We are just showing them a little out of what we have. We have plenty sacks of the new money and only God knows the amount of the new notes that we have.”
Buhari unhappy to see Nigerians suffer
At the 65th ministerial briefing in Abuja, Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Zainab Ahmed told reporters that President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy with the difficulties Nigerians are facing in getting the new notes.
Ahmed, however, said at the briefing organised by the Presidential Communication that the pains should be seen as a temporary sacrifice to achieve long-term economic sanity.
She said: “We’re not happy that citizens have to queue and struggle at bank ATMs to be able to get their cash, but this is a temporary solution.
“Mr. President is not happy that citizens are suffering. But we are convinced that it is something that needs to be done at this time and also the Central Bank has been responsive in terms of providing some extension.”