By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
There are mixed reactions from traders, business owners and customers in Anambra State over the commercial banks' acceptance of deposits in old N500 and N1,000 old notes.
This is a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a statement on Monday directed commercial banks to issue and to accept the old Naira notes from Nigerians.
The commercial banks in Awka, Anambra State capital issued the old N500 and N1,000 notes to customers but only accepted deposits of same from customers who generated CBN code from cyber cafe.
When visited Access Bank branch located along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, a staff of the bank in its bulk room said that though they accept deposits of the old Naira notes, the depositor must personally generate CBN code from the cyber cafe.
“We accept the deposits of the old N500 and N1,000 notes if you have the CBN code,” the bank staff said.
When reminded that the CBN in its statement said the banks should generate the required codes for their customers, the staff said, “No, you have to generate the code by yourself or if you have the code already, you can bring it. For now, we still require the CBN code for you to deposit the old notes except if they lift it tomorrow, we can start accepting the deposits directly.”
A similar condition applies at the First Bank branch also located along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway of the capital city.
A female staff of the bank said that “We only accept the old notes if you have your CBN code that you generated from the cyber cafe. We are not the one to generate the code for you. You have to go out to a computer place and generate the code, bring it with the old money and deposit.”
It was discovered that though residents of the state are much aware of the CBN's directive for acceptance and circulation of the old Naira notes, traders, business owners and transporters are still adamant on accepting the old N500 and N1,000 notes for transactions.
A trader in the popular Eke Awka Market, Johnson Chukwudi, told SaharaReporters that “The problem is not accepting the old notes, but the fact that banks are not accepting it back except you go through the process of generating a code. And I don't have that time. So, for now, I'm not accepting it until the banks start accepting it properly.”
Similarly, two meat sellers in the same market, Mrs Nkechi Obi and Ikenna Eze, said that they didn't accept the old Naira notes because “they (the government) are not serious yet.”
“How can they ask us to accept the old money and banks can easily issue the old notes to us but when we want to deposit it, we have to leave our business, go to a cyber cafe or whatever they call it, to get a code before going back to our banks and then struggle to deposit it?
If the government is not ready to bring out the old money, they should just leave it. We have been stressed too much.”
Meanwhile, there are some traders and transporters who accept the old Naira notes.
A commercial bus driver who simply identified himself as James told SaharaReporters that “The government said we should start using the old notes till the end of this year, so, that is why I'm accepting it.
“I know that many people are not accepting it yet and I heard that banks ask people to bring one CBN code or something like that but the ones I have accepted today, I used it to buy fuel. I know it is a matter of time and everything will settle.”
It was gathered that on Tuesday morning, leaders of Eke Awka Market and representatives from the state government went round the market and announced that everyone in the market must accept the old Naira notes.
Recall that the state Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, had threatened to shut down any commercial bank or business outlet who refuses to accept the old N500 and N1,000 notes in the state.