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‘People can’t buy food’ — former immigration boss bemoans scarcity of new naira notes in Yobe community

‘People can’t buy food’ — former immigration boss bemoans scarcity of new naira notes in Yobe community
January 24
11:38 2023

Muhammad Babandede, former comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), says residents of Geidam, Yobe state, are suffering due to the scarcity of redesigned naira notes.

He said this in a recent tweet.

In line with its naira redesign policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had said the old series of N200, N500, and N1,000 naira notes will cease to be legal tender in the country after January 31.

Describing the situation in Geidam as “critical”, Babandede said there are no banks in the local government area (LGA) as a result of insecurity in the region.

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He added that point of sale (POS) operators in the state have stopped collecting the old naira notes but do not have the new ones.

“Spoke to a few in Geidam, Yobe state — the situation is critical. No single bank in town due to insecurity. POS has stopped collecting old notes, and they don’t have the new ones. Transaction has stopped. Children, old and poor, are crying because they can’t sell or buy food,” he tweeted.

Over the weekend, Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe state, appealed to the CBN to grant special concession to residents to enable them exchange their old naira notes for the redesigned notes.

Buni explained that only four out of the 17 local government areas (LGAs) in the state have banks, making it difficult for people in the remaining 13 LGAs to access banking services.

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“The CBN should be considerate to provide special services to such areas with special needs to avoid making them victims and losing their money,” Buni said.

“The CBN and commercial banks should, as a matter of urgent public interest, deploy alternative services at their disposal to salvage the situation.”

Meanwhile, in its move to ensure that underserved and rural communities can exchange their old naira notes for the newly redesigned notes, the CBN had on Friday announced a cash swap programme in partnership with super agents and deposit money banks.

The cash swap programme took effect from Monday, January 23, 2022.

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