A’Ibom residents beg CBN to extend deadline for withdrawal of old notes

By Isaac Job, Uyo

Few days before the expiration of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes from circulation, Akwa Ibom residents have appealed to the apex bank to extend the date to enable them to mop old notes.

The residents made the appeal on Thursday when officials of the CBN led by the Branch Controller in Uyo, Mrs Mercy Itohan Ogbomon-Paul visited some communities to monitor the ongoing Cash Swap by money agents dispatched to the rural areas of the state.

He said the appeal followed the refusal of some commercial banks to accept deposits of old notes even when the deadline by CBN has not expired.

Some who spoke with our Correspondent said they are worried and sad when they were not allowed to deposit their old Naira notes by some Banks located in rural communities.

One of them who simply identified himself as Dr Ekpo lamented: “This morning at about 9:00 am I went to the bank to deposit the old notes that I have, but the person in charge told me that they have stopped collecting the old notes, that I should go to another local government to deposit the money.

“And I asked why I should go to another location to deposit a little amount of money when there is a bank here. So I felt so bad about that because we know the CBN directive says that the exercise will terminate on the 31st of this January”

Another resident a commercial tricycle operator from Ikot Ekpene, Mr Okon appreciated the CBN for the CashSwap initiative, however, appealed to them to extend the deadline to help the rural people.

“If the CBN refused to extend the deadline to at least another one week many people in the communities will lose their money because I learnt some commercial Banks in the rural areas stopped collecting the old Notes from their customers, but we were told that people can deposit old notes till January 31st,” he said.

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Rural communities where the CBN visited to monitor its recently launched Cash Swap Programme in Akwa Ibom include Ikot Ekpene and Ibiono Ibom local government areas, Odobo market in Okobo, the Crayfish market, the Oron beach in Oron council area and Nto Ndang community in Obot Akara local government area.

Other include Ikot Edibon and Palace of Okuibom Ibibio, in Nsit Ubium local government area as well as Itu council areas.

At Nsit Ubium, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and President General Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council, His Royal Majesty, Solomon Etuk, who commended the Naira swap initiative, however, appealed to the CBN to extend the deadline to enable rural dwellers to deposit all the old notes in their possession.

The royal father made the passionate appeal while fielding questions from newsmen after the CashSwap exercise organised for the underprivileged/unbanked people in his community.

“I am thankful to God for this Cash Swap initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The management has done very well by identifying the challenges of people in the communities. This is a huge relief and the people are delighted.

“I am speaking as the voice of the people I appeal again to the management of the CBN to please extend the deadline for phasing out the old Naira notes, because if they don’t our people are going to lose a lot of money”

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