Ahead of the phasing out of the old naira notes in Nigeria, customers and point of sale (POS) operators are been extorted in the banking hall of a new generation bank in Lokoja, Kogi state capital.
Our correspondent who visited the bank on Yesterday saw customers who are lamenting that the bank staff are extorting them when they visited the bank for the cash swap.
Recall that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently directed commercial banks, super agents, as well as mobile money operators to swap the old N200, N500 and N1,000 for the newly redesigned notes under the policy. They were expected to swap up to N10, 000 per person while amounts above N10, 000 would be treated as deposits.
The initiative was meant to increase circulation of the new naira dominations, particularly in the rural areas.
A POS operator, Rahama Abdullahi explained that the bank official was seen carrying the new notes and she approached him to change the new notes with the old ones but the bank agent told her that she should pay N10,000 to get the new notes.
She said, “I went to meet him to collect new notes from him and she asked me for how much I want to change, I told him that I want to change 45,000 and he said I should pay fifty five thousand naira before I could get the new notes.”
She, however, decided that she will rather deposit the money into her account instead of paying such amount to get the new notes.
Other customers were also seen depositing their old notes into their bank accounts to beat the new expiration date that the Central Bank already announced for the cash swap.
Meanwhile, the Apex bank already ordered the commercial banks to make the newly redesigned notes available to the POS operators to enable them carryout the cash swap in the rural areas where there are no banking facilities.
At the moment, it is easier to get premium motor spirit (PMS) than to get new Naira notes in Lokoja. A visit to most banks in the state capital today revealed dehumanizing experience bank account holders are subjected to in their bid to get cash for daily survival.
While most POS operators cannot offer service to customers due to non-availability of Naira notes, those with cash charge exorbitant sums for withdrawals. Lucky residents in Lokoja paid N11,000 to draw out N10,000 from their accounts.
Business owners and commercial transport workers – motorcycles and tricycles – are among the worst hit as most passengers request for their bank accounts so they can transfer as low as N100!
Students are not finding movement to their respective schools easy as well.