Old Naira Notes:  Ile-Ife traders, artisans urge extension of withdrawal deadline



By Dorcas Elusogbon

 Some traders and artisans in Ile-Ife have appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline for the withdrawal of the old naira notes in order to allow the new notes to circulate effectively.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CBN had set Jan. 31 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the old notes in circulation.

NAN also reports that circulation of the redesigned naira notes by commercial banks had slowed down the withdrawal processes of the old notes.

Some of the traders and artisans, who spoke with NAN in Ile-Ife on Tuesday, said they were yet to see the new notes in circulation.

They said the old notes were more in circulation in the town than the new notes.

Mr Chukwu Emeka, a businessman, appealed to the CBN to extend the deadline for withdrawal of old notes from circulation to avoid crisis within the masses.

Emeka said that the notice given by CBN was too short, adding that the new notes were not in circulation in the rural areas.

“If care is not taken, the issue of old and new notes will cause chaos between the populace and traders during transaction.

“People are afraid, worried and anxious because of the deadline. In fact some of traders had resolved not to collect the old naira notes as from Thursday.

Also speaking, Mr Tunde Aguntasolo, a cocoa merchant, told NAN that the deadline set by CBN for the withdrawal of the old notes in circulation was not feasible.

Aguntasolo said they had been long queues in the banking halls in Ile-Ife as a result of people trying to get access to the new naira note.

He appealed to the CBN to allow old notes to be in circulation along with the new ones for at least three months for the old ones to be phased out.

“The deadline needs to be extended to allow every Nigerians, especially those of us in the rural areas to have access to the new notes.

“Phasing out existing naira notes over a short period of time may cause serious challenges for us at the rural areas because we don’t have the new notes yet.

However, a commercial motorcyclist, Mr. Dare Owoyomi, commended CBN for the deadline on the new naira note, saying it is a welcome development.

Owoyomi said the new naira notes would curb vote buying during the general elections.

According to him, the deadline will have adverse effect on wealthy people, especially those that have embezzled government funds.

NAN observed that there were long queues of customers in few banks dispensing the new naira notes in the town. (NAN)