Despite the billions of new naira notes purportedly printed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the diverse channels the apex bank listed for the dispense of the naira, the transition to its usage is causing untold hardship to the masses.
Long queues at banks and filling stations have become the new normal hence the outrageous hike in food items and other commodities.
The pressure is too much and if not strategically arrested can lead to the breakdown of law and order as the masses believe the government is doing little or nothing to arrest the situation.
On Wednesday, Enugu residents took to the street to protest the biting condition; fuel is sold at four hundred to five hundred naira (#450-#500) per litre while some stations closed shop.
The protest began at Gariki and Agbani road and spread to the popular Ogbete Main market area, then through Ogui road, New Haven to Independence layout, Enugu.
Commuters were barred in some areas while in other areas, green leaves on cars and tricycles show solidarity and abate the wrath of the aggrieved protesters; the protest they said is on the untold hardship experienced over the scarcity of fuel and new naira notes.
Mr. Emmanuel a tricycle operator in Enugu reiterates the need for the CBN to rescind on its stance of no dispensing the new naira note over the counter in banks.
“We spend hours to get the new notes from ATM and then buy fuel between four hundred and fifty naira to five hundred naira a litre; both precious commodities-time and money are taken from us daily with no end in sight.”
The point of sales agents who are one of the major channels of dispensing the new naira to the public charge exorbitantly hence dissuading the masses from using that channel; this causes the Automated Teller Machines to be the only source for the people resulting in long queues and fights.
“I collected the sum of four thousand naira today and was charged eight hundred naira; before the mad rush for new naira because of deadline on usage of old naira, I would have been charged only a hundred naira which is reasonable. This is utterly absurd,” Charles, a real estate agent in Enugu said.
Pleading anonymity, a POS agent interviewed to ascertain why the increase in charges reveals that banks do not give them enough naira to meet the demands of their customers.
“Banks do not give us more than forty thousand naira a day. This amount is quite small compared to the demands of the people thus resulting in scarcity and hike in charges.”
Analyzing the situation, a retired banker Mr. Ejiofor said it is obvious the banks are racketeering with the new naira; they must have connived with corrupt politicians and diverted the new naira notes to them for a fee.
“How do you explain that the ATMs are not dispensing the new notes while the same scarce new naira is being sprayed at the bourgeoisie functions?”
“Why is it that only the proletariats are the ones who do not have this new naira? Your guess is as good as mine; the stakes are high and only the very rich and highly connected can pay the price,” Mr. Ejiofor explained.
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