Despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s assurance that old Naira notes will remain valid beyond the December 31 deadline, Akwa Ibom State faces a scarcity of currency notes. This situation has led to hoarding by residents, particularly traders and filling station owners, who are uncertain about the Supreme Court’s order regarding the validity of old notes.
The scarcity issue is compounded by fears surrounding the Supreme Court’s directive that old notes may cease to be valid after December 31. The Federal Government, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, has approached the Supreme Court seeking an extension of the deadline, citing present economic volatility as a reason.
Fagbemi urged the court to allow both old and new currency notes to serve as legal tender until the necessary structures are in place and proper consultations are established. The fear of a potential return to economic crises experienced during the cashless policy era further intensifies the concerns.
In Akwa Ibom, some residents are engaging in panic withdrawals, taking the federal government’s position on the deadline with caution. Traders, who benefitted from the cashless policy by selling cash to Point Of Sales (POS) operators, have started hoarding cash. Commercial banks in Uyo are facing challenges in meeting withdrawal demands, with most not paying more than N20,000 over the counter due to the scarcity of cash.
The situation has prompted residents to seek alternative sources, such as POS operators who purchase cash from traders in the market. The scarcity has impacted businesses and daily transactions, leading to frustration among bank customers and concerns about the availability of funds for essential purchases.
The scarcity of Naira notes in Akwa Ibom reflects the complexities surrounding the transition from old to new currency and the uncertainties associated with the December 31 deadline.