Press "Enter" to skip to content

Outrage as lawmakers, traders, beggars, others scramble for new Naira notes

There were drama, hues and cries as the old Naira notes faced extinction. It was particularly a crazy week for the ordinary Nigerians; KEHINDE OSASONA revisits the scenarios in this report.

While giving assurances on how his government intends to cushion the effects and hardship that the currency change policy of the government may have on Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted to have said; “The poorest section of society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, the government will not leave them to their own fate.”

Speaking through his spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, the President said further; “We will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end.”

Naira notes saga

Amidst frustration, provocations, name-calling and anger all over the land, it took the pronouncement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to douse the tension created by the new banknotes introduced by the apex bank and the January 31 deadline handed down by CBN to phase out the old notes.

The new notes became legal tender when they were unveiled by President Buhari on November 23, 2022, in Abuja. But the policy was not without its consequences as local markets, traders, food vendors and other small and medium businesses virtually shut down in the wake of the confusion which consequently threw a lot of families, especially the masses into untold hardship.

The CBN, Blueprint Weekend gathered, initially fixed January 31, 2023, as the deadline for the use of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations.

Despite the awareness and arrangement put in place for easy transition from old to new notes, some of the banks till today are still dispensing old notes, contrary to CBN’s instructions, arguing that they do not have enough new banknotes to give to customers.

The situation, according to our findings, has created woes and scary situations in the country, and was almost leading to chaos before the new developments. Although the CBN governor later appeared before the house to explain what led to Naira re-design and the extension of deadline that follows, the Chairman of the Committee and the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, had earlier threatened that the green chamber will proceed and sign an arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the committee.

The House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the re-design of three Naira notes at the parley  rejected the 10 days extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swap of old N200, N500, N1,000 bank notes.


Meanwhile, in a last-minute move to improve the circulation of the new Naira notes, the apex bank said it was intensifying efforts by providing the new notes to banks for onward circulation among Nigerians, especially in rural areas.

However, some analysts have argued that the apex bank’s supply of the new notes may have been grossly reduced, thereby making it difficult for commercial banks to meet customers’ demands.


The spate of confusion everywhere from North to South got to a head in Sokoto as traders, transporters, buyers, commuters, PoS operators tangoed over swap from old to new notes owing to rejection of old notes and the deadline handed down by the CBN.

It took the intervention of the CBN, Sokoto branch, who met with leaders of business communities in Sokoto State over the rejection of old naira notes by their members. Apart from closing their business premises, it was learnt that commercial motorcyclists and some filling stations were also rejecting the old currency.


Before the extension of the deadline by the CBN, some traders in Alimosho, it was learnt, were also rejecting the old notes, insisting that customers must provide the new notes for business. Traders at the Egbeda and Igando markets who sell in retail stopped accepting the old note as soon as the deadline date was closing by.


In Okitipupa in Ondo state, the people were not left out of the effect the old notes swap created as traders, Point of Sales (PoS) operators, commercial motorists and motorcyclists reject old Naira notes, four days to its expiration.

Some of the residents it was gathered lamented that their families were on hunger strike as the new notes were still scarce and out of reach of the masses.

While getting foodstuff with the old notes was difficult, the PoS operator also rejects any deposit made with the old currency.


 Similar situation played out in Gombe state where traders, operators of (PoS), and commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators rejected the old N200, N500 and N1000 currency notes.

It got to a situation where commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators in the state metropolis started demanding transfer from passengers rather than accept the old notes.

Aside from that, many filling stations too were shut down for fear of trading with the said currencies, just as traders, especially petty traders demanded the display of new Naira notes before opening discussion with anyone seeking their attention.


Information also filtered in that many bank customers in Katsina state suffered delays before being attended to following pressure by some of them who wanted to change their old Naira notes for new ones. While some banks lock out their customers, others sought the assistance of law enforcement operatives to restore sanity.

A bank customer, Hadiza Hamza, said; “I arrived here at 8.30 in the morning but the inability of the bank officials to control the customers prevented the officials from attending to me until 1:30pm. Those who came to swap their old Naira notes for the new ones caused the problem.”


The saying that beggars have no choice defied its meaning amidst the old note confusion as a report from Kwara, Kebbi, Kaduna; Kano has it that beggars indeed have a choice.

The mild-drama in Kano has it that some group of beggars, rejected old 1,000 Naira notes gifted them by a good Samaritan gave three beggars on wheelchairs a N1, 000 note from his wallet only for them to look at themselves, swiveled their wheelchairs around and moved away from the young man, rejecting his offer.

Kidnappers, bandits too

After abducting four people in the Kolo village of Gusau local government area in Zamfara state, some groups of bandits it was learnt refused to collect old naira notes as ransom. The bandits, according to a report earlier, demanded N10m as ransom but after the negotiation, they agreed to collect N5 million.

However, as they were trying to gather the money demanded by the terrorists, a message came that that they (Bandits) would not collect old Naira notes.

Another report has it that some bandits who raided Azara, Janjala and Kadara communities in Kaduna state on December 12, 2022, and kidnapped 37 people, asked the relatives of the victims to return the old Naira notes when they brought them for ransom payment.



Spread the love