It is no news that Nigerians have continued to face difficulties over the efforts to comply with the January 31 deadline of depositing of the old currencies and the acceptability of the new ones, precisely N200, N500 and N1000 notes. However, the situation has not been a friendly experience in the last few days as many Nigerians have encountered enormous challenges in going about the process.
The church also is not exempted from the challenges as it also makes use of cash that comes as offerings, tithes and others.
As the situation becomes harder on a daily basis, churches and some clerics have spoken about the difficulties many Nigerians are facing over the January 31 deadline.
Tribune Church gathered that some churches have begun to inform and educate members through various means not to further present old naira notes, especially during services today. Though some mega churches have fully switched to the online banking system in giving offerings and tithes, they still collect cash from members.
Tribune Church gathered that some denominations and clerics have announced that the old notes will no longer be accepted in the church as from today (Sunday). As a result of the development, Tribune Church sought the views of some clerics over the issues.
The Catholic Bishop of Oyo Emmanuel Adefoyese Badejo, called on the Federal Government not to allow the new naira notes to cause more hardship for the masses.
He said that governance and policies must have a human face. The cleric said that scarcity of the new naira notes would inflict suffering on Nigerians.
“Many citizens are depositing their old naira notes without any guarantee of getting the new notes. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s insistence on January 31 deadline for turning in old notes would only be justifiable if it had done everything necessary to make new notes available to the largest percentage of Nigerians. Why should the general public suffer?
“The story is even more dire in large swathes of the country where there is no banking service whatsoever within kilometres. Are those living there not Nigerians too?
“The whole scenario is complicated by the paralysing fuel scarcity which has now raised the price of petrol to N400 or more per litre in some places.
“All these are coming on top of skyrocketing prices of goods and services, sending the anger and frustration of struggling masses through the roof, with the 2023 General Elections only weeks away,” he said.
Badejo, however, advised the Nigerian government and its officials to react quickly to the current hard times, adding that “If the monetary policy is hurting the same people which it is intended to serve, why can’t some modification be made to its timing and execution?”
Against the intending panic that may erupt in church as from today over not meeting up to the mandate of the CBN, a source in the media office of the president and founder of The Sword of The Spirit Ministries International, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, who also doubles as the president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), noted that the church will still accept the old notes before the January 31 deadline.
The source said that the church will accept old notes on Sunday since it is still within the limit of the deadline. It was also revealed that the church will not discourage members from giving old notes as their offerings or tithes and that the church will duly make necessary efforts to comply with the government’s policies by depositing all old notes before the deadline.
Bishop Folarin Obey-Fabiyi of the Decross Gospel Mission Church, Agege, Lagos State, noted the utmost goal of the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria is to fully promote the cashless policy, but lamented that the approach of the government in implementing the policy is harsh on the people.
The cleric disclosed that as a church, efforts are ongoing to tilt to the direction of the new wave of internet banking as a means of collecting offerings and tithes in the church.
“We have no choice than to comply with the government’s policy. The leadership of the church has allowed members to bring old notes to church on Sunday with the hope of depositing them in the bank by Monday. We don’t want to discourage people. Sunday is the last day for us to accept old notes.
“We have increased all database payments of the church including the online payment and POS availability in the church,” he added.
Bishop Obey-Fabiyi, however, said that the main issue at the moment is that the new notes are not available and that it will cause a lot of discomfort for churches and other religious organisations.
“There will be a lot of crises as a result of this development. Meanwhile, this development will now make many people spend with senses and force people to go e-banking. Above all, the government should not make the cashless policy a discomfort to Nigerians. If they don’t bring about a suitable approach to this development, it might escalate to something else,” he added.
He charged the government to also consider the elderly people in church that believed so much in God and will firstly remit the tithe of any funds in their hands, but not familiar with the internet banking. He admonished the government to make the policy comfortable to everyone.
Prophet Bayode Olubo of the House of Favour Church, Egbeda, Lagos State, said it is unnecessary for people to reject old notes before the deadline.
“My church will still accept old notes till its deadline. Above all, God is the owner of the church, He will find a way around it. I want to urge Christians and the entire Nigerians not to panic over the whole process. Let us all comply with the government and let God take control,” he said.
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