By Our Reporters, with Agency Report
A deliberate plan to make illicit gains with the new naira notes is apparently going on between banks in Zaria, Kaduna State and some Nigerians who make a living by selling newly minted naira notes, The Dream Daily Newspaper can confirm.
This is because despite the scarcity of the redesigned naira notes in circulation across Zaria, they are conspicuously being sold at exorbitant rates at Dadi Motor Park, Kwangila/Flyover area in Sabon Gari Local Government of Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Dream Daily Newspaper saw large wads of different denominations of the notes on display at the entrance of Dadi Motor Park on Friday, 27 January, 2023.
On the other hand a check around Zaria, particularly in the branches of First Bank, Union Bank, Jaiz Bank, Access Bank and UBA revealed an acute shortage of the new naira notes.
Customers who thronged the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in large numbers on Friday were disappointed as the ATMs at First Bank, Union Bank, Jaiz Bank, Access Bank and UBA at the Samaru axis of Zaria were empty at about 10.00am when The Dream Daily Newspaper visited them on Friday morning.
Customers who spoke with The Dream Daily Newspaper disclosed that the ATMs at Union Bank, Jaiz Bank, Access Bank and UBA in Samaru, all opposite the famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria initially dispensed some new notes but all soon ran out.
However, the seven ATMs at First Bank, Samaru were apparently unfed on the day, according to the bank customers seen on bank premises.
The situation was exacerbated by the increased influx of people into Zaria as ABU hold its 42nd/Diamond Convocation Ceremony today, Saturday 28 January, 2023.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a bundle of N200 notes was sold at the Dadi Motor Park for N30,000; N500 notes were being sold at N70,000 and N1,000 notes was sold at N130,000, while N100 was sold at N16,000.
Mr Mohammed Bello, a new cash hawker, said they paid between N70,000 to N130,000 to obtain new N500,000 notes, depending on the denominations of the notes.
However, Bello declined to disclose the sources of the money and encumbrances.
Mr Thomas Damina, a resident of Gozaki village in Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State, who patronised the mints vendors, confirmed to NAN that he bought the new N20,000 of N1000 notes at N25,000.
He said he was forced to purchase the money at the exorbitant price to enable him settle the labourers working at his dry season farm.
“Traders in my community (Gozaki) are rejecting the old notes and the money is not available at the banks. I have no option than to buy from cash hawkers,” Damina said.
NAN also observed that trading in the new Naira notes was receiving patronage as customers thronged the banks, rushing to beat the 31 January, 2023 deadline.
Most ATMs of some commercial banks at PZ, the commercial hub of the ancient Zaria city, were not dispensing cash when NAN visited.
Trading in Naira notes is in contravention of Section 21 of the CBN Act, 2007, which is punishable under Section 21 Subsection 4 of the Act.
In spite of the laws prohibiting the hawking of Naira notes and coins, the perpetrators were freely doing their businesses close to the police outpost at Kwangila, Sabon Gari Zaria.
Reacting to the development, DSP Mohammed Jalige, the Police Public Relations Officer, Kaduna State police command, assured that the police would swing into action against the crime.
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