As Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) extended the swapping of old naira notes till February 10, 2023, bank customers in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka, the capital of Anambra and environs have continued to witness hardship in the swapping of the old currency and collection of the new ones.
This was discovered when Nigerian Tribune visited major banks in Awka and its environs including banks at Ukwuoji, Eke-Awka axis, along Regina Caeli Enugu/Onitsha expressway, where people were seen in their numbers in each of the banks Automated Teller Machine (ATM), points struggling to get the new naira notes.
Depositors of the old currency were also seen at the banks trying to deposit the money.
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During the visit to the banks, it was noticed that in each of the banks, only one ATM machine would be working, thereby causing more hardship on customers which majority claimed to have come to the banks very early in the morning from communities around Awka North and South Council Areas and beyond.
Speaking to our correspondent, some of the people who came to make withdrawals in the banks, including Mr Sunday Richard from Mgbakwu in Awka North Local Government Area, and Lady Nkechi Okpala an Awka resident, said that many people especially the old men and women in the remote areas are choked with the new development, lamenting that the situation has cost them their time for days as they have not gone to work in the struggle to deposit the old currency and as well get the new ones for feeding and other expenses as most sellers no longer accept the old currency.
Regretting that they are left with no cash to sustain themselves and their families because of the scarcity of the new naira notes, they blamed CBN for the hardship people are currently going through because of the money swap, saying that if the apex bank had provided enough of the new currency in banks across the country some weeks ago, that the masses would not have been going through the present situation they described as horrible.
For Mr Daniel Obiorah from Mgbakwu, who commended the Central Bank for the move, said that it would help to achieve the primary aim of clamping down on money-bagged politicians in the next month’s general elections, adding that though people are really suffering now that they will soon get over it.
Customers also witness similar experiences at Onitsha and Nnewi commercial cities respectively.