Mixed reactions greeted the disbursement of the new naira notes that officially went into circulation on Thursday with many bank customers demanding for the new notes while a few others snubbed the latest bills in banking halls across major Nigerian cities.
The newly redesigned N1,000, N500 and N200 bills finally became legal tender on December 15, 2022, over three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari, unveiled them at the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had on October 26 announced plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, while also declaring that the old denominations would cease to be a legal tender by January 31, 2022.
Emefiele stressed that the redesigning of the local currency became necessary to tackle inflationary problems, currency counterfeiting, insecurity and other issues plaguing Nigeria.
He further noted that the currency redesign was aimed at controlling currency-in-circulation as well as ransom payments to kidnappers and terrorists.
A visit to banking halls in several cities across the country, on Thursday, revealed that several bank branches had run out of the small quantities of the new notes allocated to them from their head offices as early as 12 noon.
Further findings revealed that several bank branches were yet to get their new note allocations with many bank officials informing our correspondents that the new notes were still being expected.
It was observed that the ATMs at the bank branch were dispensing only old naira notes. Customers were also seen depositing the old bills over the counter, while cashiers were paying out more of the old naira notes at the centre.
However, in a few instances, the cashiers were seen mixing a few new naira notes with the old bills in their OTC payments.
Meanwhile, in some of the banking halls visited by a reporter, some customers snubbed the new notes due to reports that some local traders were rejecting them as legal tender.
As such, some of the bank customers refused to collect the new notes for over-the-counter payments.
Confirming the situation, a bank teller in Ogba, Lagos, said that, “Some customers have been rejecting the new naira notes whenever we give them; they said the new notes would not be collected from them in the market; they prefer the old notes.”
At the bank, a cashier told a customer demanding the new notes she had exhausted her allocation.
However, when the customer insisted on having his payment in the new notes, the cashier approached his colleague to demand for some.
“You are eager to get the new notes but many of the customers I attended to today refused to take it from me,” the cashier said.
Similarly, in a video sighted by our correspondent, a trader rejected the new naira note from her customer saying the currency is not legal tender in the country.
The customer convinced her otherwise but she insisted that she will only receive the old naira notes.
Watch the video below: