Naira Scarcity: Customers Fight Over N5,000
The continued scarcity of the naira has increased the hardship of many bank customers who are now forced to join long queues to withdraw N5,000 over-the-counter.
This has increased the frustration of many people waiting to collect cash and has led to heated exchanges on these queues.
On Thursday, our correspondents visited bank branches in Lagos and Abuja and observed the plight of many Nigerians struggling to withdraw cash from their accounts.
In many of these banks, the ATMs were not dispensing. Customers at Zenith Bank Plc branches at First Avenue, FESTAC and First Gate, complained about how they were not able to get cash.
A bank official who spoke to one of our correspondents at the First Gate branch of the bank blamed network downtime for their inability to attend to customers.
The official said, “Our network has been down for some time, and we have not been able to do much.”
While our correspondent was still on the scene, the network stabilized at the First Avenue, FESTAC branch, and the bank began to call in its customers.
At a Polaris Bank branch around the area, customers were being allowed to withdraw N4,000. Customers of both Fidelity Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc at their branches at First Gate, Old Ojo road confirmed that they were able to withdraw N5,000.
A customer, Ramat Aileru, at Access Bank said, “I came here at 7:00am and I got into the banking hall at past 11:00 a.m. I was able to get N5,000. I was paid with N200 old notes.”
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At Fidelity Bank, a customer, who did not want his name in print, said, “I picked number 82. I have been to a church service and back. They have not gotten to my number.”
Also, the Sterling Bank located along Ire-Akari Road in Isolo, Lagos was disbursing N5,000 each to customers who wanted to withdraw over-the-counter with none of its ATMs working.
A bank customer who only identified herself as Seyi, disclosed that while she wanted to withdraw N40,000 to purchase food items over the election period, she was only allowed to withdraw N5,000 in old N200 notes.
In Abuja, it was survival of the fittest as bank customers struggled to gain entrance to bank premises even though there was no cash in the banks.
The customers forced themselves into banks’ premises in the hope that these banks may disburse money later in the day.
The banks located at Wuse Market included GT Bank, Ecobank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and Zenith Bank. While these banks were not dispensing cash, Jaiz Bank, located in the same area, was allowing its account holders to withdraw N20,000 across the counter.
Findings also revealed that many banks were accepting deposits of old N500 and N1,000.
A customer, Fidelis Eze, explained that the bank he wanted to deposit his old notes was accepting them. He added that he couldn’t deposit his old notes because he filled in the wrong information on his form.