From Rashidat AbdulRahman, Minna
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has interacted with traders at Kure Ultra Modern Market, Minna.
Governor Bello encouraged the traders to continue to use the old notes along the new ones until the court verdict is pronounced.
He said that the state government along other States has filed a case against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the time frame to discontinue the usage of the old notes.
The governor acknowledged that the naira redesign was a welcome development, however, disclosed that the CBN needed to give a long time to allow the old notes in circulation before it eventually fades out.
He described it as a bad situation where traders in the state especially in Minna cannot get access to money even with the concentration of banks not to talk of people at the grassroots.
“Now you can imagine with the concentration of banks in Minna, the traders in Kure Market cannot get access to new notes, you can imagine the rural areas”, he said.
The Governor added that he stopped over at the different markets to get first hand information on the challenges encountered by the people on the redesigned notes policy
“The situation is very bad, and I deliberately came here to get the truth on what is going on”, he said.
According to him the main problem of the new notes was lack of circulation which some people have used the situation to exploit others.
The governor further said that this situation, if it continues, will cripple small businesses.
He said they were in discussion with the banks to collect the old notes as their refusal is against the Supreme Court injunction.
Some of the traders the governor interacted with included Mallam Sani Saidu, Umar Abdullahi, Abdullahi Auta, Sadiq Lawal, Haj Rakiya Salihu, and Haj Kande Suleiman.
They all confirmed that they have been collecting the old Naira notes from their customers to ease difficulties but expressed concern over the refusal of Bank officials to collect the old notes from them. They however, described the situation as discouraging.
The governor also while interacting with the officer in charge of the branch of a commercial Bank in the Market where he sought to know if they pay their customers with new notes.
He suggested to the Officer in Charge to write daily reports to the Bank’s head office to intimate it of the difficulties people are going through in accessing the new notes.
The Officer in Charge of the Bank explained that they have been paying customers with new notes through the ATM and over the counter without hoarding.
He acknowledged that the new notes in circulation are grossly insufficient hence, the difficulties.
He had also interacted with some traders along Minna-Suleja Road, one of the trader confirmed the hardship the policy has brought on the masses
It could be recalled that the state has passed an executive order directing that all financial transactions in the state must be carried out with both the redesigned notes old ones.