THE use of the old naira notes is gradually returning in Cross River, following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to deposit banks to issue and receive the old notes.
It would be recalled that on Friday, the Supreme Court extended the validity of the old naira notes to December 31.
However, despite the Supreme Court Order, residents of the state remained skeptical about accepting the old N500 and N1,000 notes because the CBN kept mum over the matter.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who monitored the situation in some commercial banks in Calabar metropolis, observed that their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) had started dispensing cash.
The development had led to a drastic reduction in the crowd of customers at the banks’ premises waiting to withdraw money.
The ATMs, which were paying as much as N20,000 in the old naira notes, had clusters of customers in the queue waiting patiently for their turn.
A customer in one of the banks on Calabar Road, Miss Oluchi Amadi, said she was happy that money was gradually returning to the banks for customers to withdraw.
Amadi said she did not care whether it was the new or old currency notes as long as the money was acceptable in the market and could easily be deposited in any bank.
Also, Miss Eno Ekanem, who operates a Point of Service business, said she started accepting the old notes when CBN reversed itself and directed that the old notes should be accepted as legal tender.
Ekanem said the only challenge they faced was that the notes were still in short supply, hence many people still struggled to get them.
“I accept the old naira notes now, it is just that there is not much in circulation.
“We do transfers mostly because the cash is still scarce even though today is better than what it was last week and the penultimate week.
A mini bus driver, Mr Emmanuel Udoh, said he was initially skeptical about collecting the old notes but began to collect them after noticing that people had begun to transact business with them.
“I had to confirm first before accepting the old notes because of the doubts arising from the inconsistencies in the pronouncements by the Presidency, CBN and Supreme Court about the new and old notes.
“I didn’t want to be caught in their web.
“We have suffered so much in the last few months and cannot continue to suffer.
“I appeal to CBN to make more cash available, whether new or old, so that the bank queues will disappear and Nigerians can withdraw as much as they want not only N5,000 or N10,000
NAN reports that, although many banks in the metropolis were paying customers, some still complained about the paucity of cash to pay. (NAN)