Almost one month after the release of the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes and few weeks  before sunset for old notes to remain legal tender, there are strong indications that many Nigerians are still having huge challenges accessing the redesigned currency notes in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and banking halls across the country.

Investigations revealed that bank customers across parts of Lagos (Ajah and Oshodi) are agitated that the new note s have remained out of reach hence their call on the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline to allow adequate circulation of the notes. The development comes weeks after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele announced the new notes would be circulated across the country by December 15, 2022. The apex bank had also set a deadline of January 31, 2023 for all the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to be withdrawn from the financial system and would cease to be legal tender.

Emefiele had stated that the new notes have already been dispensed to the banks who would in turn dispense to their customers. He also advised Nigerians to deposit the denominations to be redesigned to their various banks, saying that banks would be open for operations from Monday to Saturday weekly.

A countdown clock which is visible on the CBN’s website, shows January 31, 2023, as the deadline for the affected notes to cease as legal tender. However, bank customers who used the ATMs in parts of Lagos, Abuja and other states of the federation during the holidays as well as yesterday, after the Yuletide holidays  complained that the ATMs were still dispensing only old notes and are now skeptical about the January 31, deadline, urging the apex bank  extend its date.

Mr Uchenna Madabuchi, a spare parts dealer at Oshodi, said, “When the CBN came out with the redesigned notes announcement, I knew there would be flaws as I told my friends, the notes would not circulate properly due to the “Nigerian factor”. I came to the ATM hoping to get new notes but it is still dispensing old notes. I hope the CBN is looking into this and I suggest they extend the deadline so that Nigerians, especially bank customers would have access to these notes”.

A visit to some of the banks in Lagos shows that the ATM was still dispensing old notes as well. On inquiry as to why the situation has remained the same as last week, a staff of the bank noted that the ATMs might start dispensing the new notes at the end of January 2023, the deadline for the withdrawal  of the old notes.

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