Yobe State Governor, Mai Buni, has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline for the recall of the old Naira note saying many people in the rural areas of the state will not make the deadline.
The CBN’s new naira policy stipulates that the old design of the naira notes will no longer be legal tender on 31 January. The newly designed notes are expected to replace the old notes from 1 February.
Despite calls from Nigerians, including the Senate, which appealed to the CBN to extend the deadline to 30 June, the CBN has doubled down on the original deadline.
Mr Buni in a statement through his spokesperson Mamman Mohammed asked the CBN to make a special concession for the people of the state or make an alternative arrangement, especially for people living in rural areas to meet the deadline.
According to the governor, only four out of the 17 local government areas in the state have banking services.
Mr Buni said the absence of banks in the rural areas was even worsened by the Boko Haram insurgency. He, however, wondered why the banks are reluctant to reopen despite the clearing of the insurgents in the state.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“As a regulatory body, CBN should also ensure commercial banks open branches in the local government council headquarters now that there is improved peace and security across the state”, he said.
“The improved security in Yobe state and the Northeast generally makes it conducive for the banks to resume operations and open new branches in the local government council headquarters and other towns.
“My fear is that until something urgent is done, many people may fall victim to failing to change to the new notes.
“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”, he said.
PREMIUM TIMES recalls that Mr Buni had earlier expressed similar concern during the launch of some PoS machines donated to the state government by United Bank for Africa in Damaturu.
At another forum where the National President of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria paid him a courtesy call, the Governor equally challenged commercial banks to establish more banks in the State as well as admonished the cattle breeders to also embrace modern banking in other to meet up with the current realities.
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