January 26, 2023

Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe state, has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to grant special concession to residents to exchange their old naira notes for the redesigned notes.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Mamman Mohammed, media aide to the governor, said Buni made the appeal due to the lack of banking services in most parts of Yobe state.

In October last year, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, announced the naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new naira notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series.

All the other denominations — N100, N50, N20, N10, and N5 notes — will continue to be in circulation while the current N200, N500, and N1,000 naira notes will cease to be legal tender in the country after January 31, 2023.

Buni explained that only four out of the 17 local government areas (LGAs) in the state have banks, making it difficult for people in the remaining 13 LGAs to access banking services.

“Some of the banks with branches in the local government areas closed the branches at the peak of the Boko Haram security challenge but are yet to reopen in spite of the improved security in the state,” the governor was quoted as saying.

“The CBN should be considerate to provide special services to such areas with special needs to avoid making them victims and losing their money.

The CBN and commercial banks should, as a matter of urgent public interest, deploy alternative services at their disposal to salvage the situation.”

Buni also said the CBN should also ensure commercial banks open branches in the local government council headquarters.

He added that the improved security in Yobe and the north-east generally makes it conducive for the banks to resume operations and open new branches in the local government council headquarters and other towns.

The politician further expressed fears that until something urgent is done, many people may fall victims of failing to exchange their naira.

“As a government we made these observations earlier but the challenge is still there and needs the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria to save the situation,” Buni said.

Meanwhile, in its move to ensure that underserved and rural communities can exchange their old naira notes for the newly redesigned notes, the CBN had on Friday announced a cash swap programme in partnership with super agents and deposit money banks.

The apex bank said the cash swap programme would be effective from Monday, January 23, 2022.

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