Old naira notes regain relevance as Warri traders react to extension of deadline

Traders and commercial tricycle riders in Warri, Delta State, have reacted to the last Sunday extension of the deadline for the swapping of the old naira notes with the new ones.

Checks by our correspondent on Monday revealed a mixed-feelings among the artisans as some expressed joy at the extension while others frowned upon it.

It was observed that with a very few new naira notes still in circulation, the old naira notes, within 24 hours, have speedily regained relevance in business transactions.

This is at variance the urgency with which people wanted to dispose of the old naira notes hours before the announcement of an extension by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele on Sunday noon.

Speaking with Mr Friday Oshokomo, the commercial tricycle rider said he was okay with the extension of the deadline.

“At least, I’ll be able to save up the new naira notes before the new deadline date, but in the meantime, I’m still accepting both the old and new naira notes.

“At the end of each day, I’ll go to PoS and transfer all the old naira notes to my account while I keep the new naira notes. Just yesterday and this morning, I’ve saved up to 12,000 naira cash of the new naira notes,” he disclosed.

On his part, Mr Henry, another commercial tricycle riders, said he was cool with the deadline extension.

“I have no problem with the extension of the deadline. I’m very okay with it; but how I wish it was not extended, what would have happened to the money I made on Sunday evening even the ones I have at home.

“Because ever since I was so busy with work, I can’t go to the bank. I have been receiving the new currency for some time now, but I still accept the old currency too. By next week Monday, I will try and go to the bank,” he noted.

Our reporter also approached Mrs Mercy Ekhator who sells foodstuffs such as plantain, yam and so on.

According to her, “if the Federal Government likes, they should extend the date of the deadline or not, I don’t care. I don’t have any money.

“I buy goods on credit from my suppliers and when all my goods are sold out, I use the money to pay my suppliers; the little gain I make, I use it to buy foodstuffs to cook at home.

Asked if she accepts the old naira notes and if she’s been receiving the new notes, Ekhator added: “I don’t reject the old money; I accept both all of them and I still use them.

“Yes, some few people have given me the new naira notes, but I don’t save them, I even use them as change to customers. I don’t have a bank account, so I’m not worried whether the deadline is extended or not. I heard they use to steal people’s money in the bank, so I don’t bank.”

Mrs Happy Ibeh sells fish at popular Igbudu Market in Warri. She said she was elated about the deadline extension. “When I heard about the extension, I was happy.

“I have been receiving new naira notes from some customers although not too many, the old naira notes are mostly in circulation.

“I don’t reject any of the notes at all; for now I have gathered a few of the new naira notes; I even gather the old naira notes, too, because this weekend, I want my children to take them to the bank for me.”

Further checks, however, revealed that the cost of collecting old naira notes through PoS has been jacked up such that for N5,000, N300 is charged.

The reason is adduced to the scarcity of the old naira notes as most people had returned their old naira notes to the banks over the weekend in preparation for the Tuesday, January 31 initial deadline which had now been shifted to February 10.

Meanwhile, at PoS, N5000 of the new naira notes goes for as much as N700 and N1000 across Warri and environs.

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