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Many Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief yesterday as banks started paying the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to customers.
It followed Monday’s directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks to comply with the March 3 judgment of the Supreme Court.
The court held that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes would remain legal tender until December 31 and co-exist with the new notes.
Many of the banks limited payments over-the-counter to N20,000 because they had limited cash allocations from the CBN.
There were long queues at different branches.
Many Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), which were abandoned for weeks due to cash scarcity, suddenly became a beehive of activities as customers made cash withdrawals to meet their financial needs.
But some ATMs were also empty.
Many banks in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had no cash.
They said the CBN had not released money to meet demands, but hoped the situation will change in the coming days
Skye Bank at Wuse Zone 7 paid their customers in old notes over the counter, but only a fraction of what the customers asked for.
At United Bank for Africa (UBA), Area 3, customers were paid N10,000 each over the counter.
At Polaris Bank, a teller said: “We started paying N5,000 each to our customers in the morning, but the money we had in the vault was exhausted at about noon. There will be more money as from Friday”.
Traders and cab drivers in Abuja were reluctant to accept the old notes.
Mixed tales in Lagos
At the GTBank, Ilupeju branch in Lagos, the ATMs dispensed N5,000 to customers and paid N10,000 across the counter.
Huge stacks of old naira notes were seen at the back of the counter, from where the bank tellers paid customers.
Many of the bank customers said it was better to have the old notes than to be without cash.
Michael Oseni, a Lagos-based entrepreneur, said the resumption of payment by the banks will help people to meet their financial obligations to their families and business associates.
The Wema Bank branch at Town Planning Way, Lagos, was paying customers N4,000 through the ATMs for accounts not domiciled at the bank.
The bank’s customers got N20,000 from the ATMs in two withdrawals of N10,000 each.
At the Marina axis of Lagos, many customers trooped to First Bank headquarters to make cash withdrawals across the counter and ATMs.
Many of them were called into the branch in batches to carry out their transactions.
Some banks’ branches said they were yet to get cash supplies from their
We will start payment once we get access to cash. For now, we are only carrying out e-payment transactions,” a teller in one of the banks said.
A bank customer, Mrs Gift Amomo, said the cash crunch persisted despite the CBN directive
Amono said: “I was told there was no cash. Both the old and new Naira notes were not available.”
A PoS operator at Isolo, Mrs Funmi Gbadamosi, said she was unable to collect cash from banks.
“There are still queues at the banks and many of them were not paying yet, but we have started collecting the old Naira notes,” she said.
Taiye Aibor, a trader at Ipaja Market, said businesses had started collecting the old notes after the CBN’s directive.
Many residents of Lagos, especially traders, freely accepted the old notes.
People massed at the entrances of some of the banks in Iyana-Ipaja, Ikotun, Ikeja, Sango-Ota, Oshodi and other areas of the state with the hope to get cash.
However, a bank official, who asked not to be named, claimed that they had yet to receive both the old and new notes
The official said: “We do not have money to give our customers. That is why we are not paying cash.
“We are hopeful that we will get money from the CBN, following the directive.”
Bayelsa residents accept old notes
Many residents of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, accepted the old naira notes
A restaurateur, who gave her name only as Ebilade, said her business had almost crumbled.
She said: “The new currency scarcity coupled with the rejection of old naira notes has dealt a big blow to my restaurant business.”
A Point of Sales (POS) operator, Faith Ibalagha, advised the government to always be sensitive to the plight of the masses.
Banks comply in Rivers
Banks in Rivers paid between N5,000 and N20,000 to their customers yesterday.
Customers who trooped to the banking halls and ATM on Ikwerre Road were able to make withdrawals.
First Bank paid a maximum of N20,000 to each customer while Union Bank paid N5,000.
However, some traders in Diobu were still reluctant to accept the old notes.
“I will begin to accept the old naira notes when I see a person that successfully deposited the money in a bank,” a trader said.
Rejections in Akwa Ibom
Some Akwa Ibom State residents rejected the old notes.
There was a high level of scepticism among business owners and transporters.
Uko Eshiett, a commercial tricycle rider, said he would not accept the old Naira notes until either President Muhammadu Buhari or the CBN governor speaks on the matter.
Mixed reaction in Oyo
The pronouncement by the CBN generated mixed reactions from traders and commuters in Ibadan, the Oyo State, as as some expressed uncertainty.
But many banks across the capital city dispensed the old naira notes.
Banks comply in Ebonyi
In Ebonyi, banks started dispensing the old naira notes to the relief of residents who have been queueing up at banks for months.
Ogun residents lament
Many residents of Ogun State returned home disappointed as they could not make withdrawals.
Some who made it to the banks as of 6.3am were able to withdraw between N5,000 and N10,000 in some cases, but others returned home empty after standing in the queue for hours without success.
Banks at Lalibu Street, Okelewo – Abeokuta’s Central Business District (ACBD) – ran out of cash as of 10.30 am.
No cash in Benue ATMs
ATMs in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, had no cash.
A GTBank branch along New Otukpo Road paid N5,000 to customers, who lamented that it was inadequate to take care of their family needs.
Most of the business outfits rejected the old naira notes, claiming they were not aware of the CBN directives.
Relief in Kaduna
In Kaduna, it was a big relief for residents, as some banks started paying the old N500 and N1,000 notes to customers.
Traders across the major markets within the state capital accepted the old notes.
Scarcity in Abia
Few banks operating in both Aba, the commercial nerve, and Umuahia, the Abia State capital, paid the old notes.
Some customers who came to deposit money into their accounts did so with the CBN-generated code.
Long queues were seen in some of the bank branches.
Transport companies and traders in major markets and streets of Aba and Umuahia were sceptical about accepting the old notes.
Culled from The Nation
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