The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Sunday morning pleaded with Nigerians to bear with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government over the scarcity of the redesigned naira notes and the biting challenges experienced across the country.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Obi said currency redesigning was not peculiar to Nigeria, saying that the inconveniences experienced now would yield longterm economic benefits, adding however that improvements could have been made in the implementation.
The LP candidate and former Anambra State governor, further urged the CBN and commercial banks to increase efforts to make the new naira available to Nigerians.
Obi said, “The currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is an exercise that comes with some inconvenience and pain but it has significant longterm economic and social benefits. Even though there are improvements that can be made.
“We equally implore the CBN and the banks to expedite efforts to make the new currency available to small depositors and the unbanked in order to reduce the pains of my fellow Nigerians, especially the underprivileged and those living far away from banks in the rural areas.”
Punch news reports that many Nigerians have continued to lament the unavailability and scarcity of the new notes, with the lingering scarcity of both old and new naira notes crippling economic activities nationwide.
The CBN on October 26, 2022 had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. The president subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
The CBN however, bowed to pressure last Sunday, after many pleas, and extended the deadline for the swapping of old naira notes with the redesigned ones till February 10, 2023, with an extra seven days grace till February 17 to return old notes directly to the CBN.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) had assured Nigerians on Friday that in seven days time from then, he would address the woes associated with accessing the redesigned notes, promising to resolve the crisis within the stimulated time.
This is as protests have broken out in various cities across the country, with many angry about the pains and hardship citizens are being subjected to in order to have access to the new notes.