Many bank customers over the weekend expressed frustration as banks in Abuja remained under lock and key while their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were not dispensing cash.
The premises of most banks in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had customers hanging around hoping to get some cash.
Some of the customers relied on an unsigned statement, purportedly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), authorising Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to open shop during the weekend to attend to the cash needs of their customers.
A customer at a bank in Central Area, Sanni Abbas, decried the scarcity of cash and the insensitivity of the banks.
“The banks are so insensitive that it stops them from opening today and loading their ATMs with cash?
“We do not even know who to blame between the CBN and the DMBs.
“If the apex bank has supplied cash to any bank and they are refusing to supply their customers, such a bank should be sanctioned,” he said.
According to Muhammed Sule, another bank customer, the CBN will need to make an example of one bank to serve as a deterrent.
“If the CBN is actually supplying the banks with the newly redesigned naira and the old N200 notes, the situation should have ameliorated by now.
“If the banks are failing in their responsibility to dispense available cash, the apex bank should step in by withdrawing the licences of such erring banks,” he said.
The CBN’s naira redesign policy and phasing out of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes had been met with resistance across the country due to the scarcity of the new naira notes.
President Muhammadu Buhari, however, stepped in on Thursday when he authorised the CBN to continue to accept the old N200 banknote as legal tender for additional 60 days, till April 10.
Mr Buhari, who said this through a national broadcast, however, said the old N500 and N1,000 notes had been phased out and would no longer be accepted as legal tender.
He said the additional 60-day concession was due to the difficulty faced by Nigerians in accessing the redesigned naira notes.
Mr Buhari directed the CBN to intensify collaboration with anti-corruption agencies to check the activities of individuals and groups bent on frustrating the smooth implementation of the currency redesign policy.
He called on the apex bank to ensure that any institution or person found to be sabotaging the implementation was made to face the law.
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