A REACTION TO CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN) DIRECTIVE TO COMMERCIAL BANKS NOT TO PAY CUSTOMERS NEW NAIRA NOTES OVER THE COUNTER


It is ridiculous, insensitive and contemptuous for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct commercial banks not to pay customers redesigned Naira notes over the counter despite unreasonable deadline.  Godwin Emefiele, the worst CBN Governor, directed that designed notes to only be given via Automated Teller Machines (ATM) when on daily basis bank customers face frustrations in banking transactions with dispensing of cash through ATMs.

These frustrations include debiting Customers accounts when cash is not dispensed by ATMS. Where the failed transaction was not rectified in 24 hours the customer has to join long queues in order to lodge complaint to his/her bank. An the end, such customers will have to wait for five (5) working days for the dispense error to be corrected with neither an apology nor compensation to the customer.

The security forces are currently battling to fight various forms of criminality in the country. Issues of kidnappers demanding large ransoms and bank fraud where internet fraudsters swindle money from bank customers accounts to other bank accounts and withdraw such monies with bank’s inability to trace such thieves are all part of lingering frustrations and unresolved challenges. 

 Emefiele’s senseless policy would increase loss of lives if Kidnappers demand new notes and the kidnapped family members are unable to give them.  As a matter of fact, based on what their spokesperson, Sheik Gumi has been saying, if they cannot change the old notes already in their possession, ransom is likely to be increased to cover the lost illegally earned money.  Consequently, the CBN directive to commercial banks to only pay new Naira notes to customers through their ATM machines will compound the crime rate in the country.  

It will be an open invitation to criminals that have been burgling ATMs. Imagine the loads of Naira notes that will have to be loaded into ATM machines on daily basis to cater for the withdrawal policy of this same CBN that allows individual customers and corporate customers to withdraw daily One Hundred Thousand Naira and One Million Naira respectively. With unresolved challenges of ATM dispensation, this new directive is counterproductive, and a mockery of the whole cashless policy. 

The policy would increase the long queue at the ATM machines, stress, excruciating pains and pangs of the poor, disconnected and unconnected masses. It would increase corruption, untimely death and make the cashless policy worthless unless it is the intention of Emefiele to barefacedly murder Nigerians.  

In all these faulty directives and implementation of a cashless policy, the plight of rural dwellers that lack basic infrastructure and those who are uneducated and old people who are incapable of operating modern day technology devices have not been taken into consideration. Yes, we know that Emefiele parents would not have to experience this pain to avoid parental curse. However, Emefiele and his team members would not escape the verbal and nonverbal curses of the aged and Nigerians in general.  

Emefiele needs to understand he is not in that position for his family members and unpatriotic cabals. Majority of our population resides in rural areas where there is no banking presence.  Are the banks going to erect ATM machines in the rural areas or are banks going to rely on agents? The POS agents everywhere are not protected from this frustration.  They either have to die waiting on the queues or forced to bribe their ways out of this mess.  The other question is how do the pay agents get loads of cash to pay out? Does the CBN consider the risk involved in moving large amount of cash to rural areas?  Does the CBN want to increase armed robberies in the country?

There must be a rethink of this directive if the country is desirous of fighting crime and also reducing the frustration bank customers go through in getting their own hard-earned monies from the bank or else the cashless policy will be a way of inflicting more pain on the people already oppressed by Government policies.

Emefiele is killing the banking industry. He is pursuing the cashless policy in a brutal manner that the most civilized country has not pursued it, forcing petty traders to use a banking system that would wipe away their profits with all sorts of charges. Emefiele needs to address the nation on the N89 Trillion stamp duties funds diverted and some mentally sick Nigerians are preventing him from being arrested and prosecuted.  He has not fought to defend the strengthening of Naira. Emefiele is a disaster for the banking industry.  This crook needs to be kicked out, arrested and prosecuted. President Muhammadu Buhari and the members of the Executive Council should show that they care about the masses and prove that Emefiele reports to them.

In conclusion, the CBN directive is a tall order that has very serious operational, security and impoverishing implications, especially when the CBN insists that the deadline would not be extended.  If the directive is not reversed immediately, it will surely undermine the cashless policy and drive people to keep their monies outside the banks or in makeshift vaults in their homes. It would also increase the call for revolution, and we shall be forced to take our country back.  A word to the wise is enough.
 
Ogbeni Lanre Banjo
Former Gubernatorial Candidate, Ogun State
10th January, 2023