Cashless Policy: New Money Saga (part 2)

It's a short report on the happenings that followed the introduction of the new design of the naira notes.

The new naira notes minted by the CBN were supposed to be in circulation by December 2022. However, in a cosmopolitan city like Ibadan, ATMs didn't stop dispensing old naira notes until about seven days before the deadline, January 31st.

Usually, people would have been waiting at ATM stands as early as 6 am. By the time the average person comes around, the queue would be so long that one could collapse while standing and waiting for their turn. Many times, ATMs run out of cash as well. I can recall that there was a whole weekend when no ATM in my environment was dispensing cash. They were either out of service, temporarily unable to dispense cash, or something else.

Naturally, people turned to the POS operators in relief. Just as in wartime, however, these businessmen and women wouldn't render their services for peanuts. As the tension increased, so did their charges. At a time, they charged one hundred naira for the new design of one thousand naira note. Later on, right after the deadline was extended when both old notes and new notes became scarce, people didn't mind paying two hundred naira to get the old design of the one thousand.

The rate at which the pressure rose was alarming. Every new dawn broke out with a different level of uncertainty. Without a doubt, many passed their days in weariness, the kind that weighs heavily on the soul. Banks were always crowded, and their gates were usually locked. People would stand outside these gates under the scorching sun for hours. Network service was terrible, and customer care agents were always busy. Not only was withdrawing money a problem, transfers often went wrong. In this case, the party transferring money could be debited though the transfer was unsuccessful.

People soon began to protest and riot. Both public and private properties were vandalized. Banks were set on fire. Roads were blocked, and this affected both transportation and trading. The lives of people have been put at risk. We've faced starvation, insecurity, penury, backwardness, depression, and emotional and psychological turmoil. Individuals were stranded. Families were stranded. Businesses have suffered regression. We've spent money to get back our money. We had fought back in anger, desperation, and frustration. I have one word for us all.

Fight. Keep fighting. Only fight in the way that's legally acceptable and morally right. In this struggle for peace, we'll all have to be brave and strong. It might take time, but we will win against corruption. One day, our dream of having a better nation will come to pass. God bless Nigeria!






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