Residents of some communities and markets in the Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State have begun to abandon the Nigerian currency for CFA franc because of the shortage of New Naira Notes.
Investigations showed that Illela, a border town with Niger Republic and of about 105 kilometres from Sokoto, capital city of Sokoto State, now has most of its traders and residents trading, selling and buying in CFA franc.
The Nigerian Central Bank, CBN had earlier set the deadline for the old N200, N500 and N1000 for January 31, 2023 but due to the scarcity of the new naira notes and its attendant effects on the economy, the apex bank extended the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes for newly designed ones till February 10.
A resident of Sabon-Gari, a town in Illela of Local Government Area, identified as Yusuf Sani revealed to SaharaReporters that he had changed all his Naira notes to CFA because of the difficulty in getting New Naira Notes in the region.
“I decided to have only CFA because people are not collecting Old Naira Notes again. The ATM does not even dispense. You can only get New Naira Note from POS, which is around N200 to N300 per N1,000.
“This is why it is safe to have CFA,” he explained.
According to Sani, it will be easier for him to spend the foreign currency because his town is close to some communities in the Niger Republic.
Abu, a trader at the ILLELA International Cattle Market, added that while it is not unusual to see some traders using CFA in the markets, most traders now exclusively use CFA due to the non-circulation of the New Naira Notes.
He said, “In this market, we have many people from neighbouring countries that come here to do business, particularly in cattle. So they bring foreign currency like CFA. But for the past few weeks, spending of Naira is now becoming difficult because no one is ready to collect the old Naira notes.”
Days ago, the Arewa Consultative Forum, the northern socio-cultural group, had urged the Nigerian government to prolong the deadline for the expiration and collection of old naira notes in the country.
In a statement issued by Bello Galadanci, Publicity Secretary, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Kano State Chapter, the group had said the public was suffering greatly as a result of people’s refusal to accept old naira notes in commercial transactions out of concern that they might not be able to deposit them in commercial banks.
The statement had read: “This has currently made life more difficult for ordinary citizens, because banks, up till now, still give out the old naira notes to customers with the deadline only a few days away.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to reconsider its decision by extending the deadline for the expiration of old naira notes to enable residents to swap their old naira with the new naira notes.”