BREAKING: Protests In Abuja Over New Naira Notes ‘Hoarding’ By Banks

Protests have greeted alleged hoarding of the redesigned Naira notes by commercial banks ahead of the January 31 deadline fixed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swap of old notes with new ones.

The protesters were led to commercial banks in Abuja by Mr. Monday Ajeh, chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bwari chapter.


Speaking to THE WHISTLER when members of the association stormed some banks in Kubwa on Thursday, Ajeh accused commercial banks of conniving with politicians in deliberate attempts to frustrate the currency redesign swap policy of the CBN while subjecting ordinary citizens to harrowing experience.

“We came here in respect of the exchange of the new Naira notes with the old notes. We’ve heard from customers and citizens within this axis that the banks till now have not complied with the directive of the CBN. As we are still talking, I have been inside the bank, and I discovered that what they are giving out to their customers are still the old notes and we are talking about less than 7 days to the ultimatum given by the President and CBN governor. This is a frustrating situation,” he said.

Monday Ajeh, chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bwari chapter.

The NBA chairman accused the banks of helping politicians to frustrate the cash withdrawal limit and cash swap policy which the CBN had said was partly aimed at reducing the amount of cash outside the banking system.


The policy is expected to force politicians to surrender old Naira notes stock-pilled in their houses and other places for the purpose of buying votes during the forthcoming general elections.

Ajeh said, “We are also aware that there is a connivance between the Nigerian banks and these politicians not to push out these monies (new notes) so that they can frustrate the whole system at the expense of these suffering masses.

“We can’t be suffering in this country on daily basis. You will queue for fuel and still queue for naira notes. That is why we’ve come here to register our protest as an association because as social crusaders, we owe society our duty and that is why we are here to register our protest to the bank to do the needful (because) by the time we come back, they will not see us in this gentle forum. It is better they go to the CBN to get the money (new notes).”

Asked why he thinks the banks are working with politicians to frustrate the policy, the NBA chairman said “Of course, you should know. Because the CBN addressed the whole world that this money is there. For you now to know that there is a connivance, we asked the man (bank manager) to let us interview him and he said no, that it is beyond his power, that we should understand.

“If you are saying you’re right that the CBN is not releasing the money, then let us blow it to the whole world so that the CBN too would be accused but he said no. That means their hands are not clean, they are conniving with these politicians to frustrate the whole system but we must salvage this situation.”


An angry Access Bank customer who spoke to THE WHISTLER outside the Kubwa branch of the bank expressed frustration over the alleged hoarding of the new notes by banks.

Omoyemi Oladapo, Access Bank customer.

“My name is Omoyemi Oladapo, I am a federal government worker. I came to the bank to do a transaction this morning and they gave me old notes, look at it, but they are not collecting the old notes outside and the banks are still giving old notes up till now. And you know that people are not collecting it? Why are they doing this?” he queried.

“The Federal Government through the CBN has given directive for them to give new notes over the counter and even through the ATM machines (but) they are not providing new notes and there is chaos inside there.

“I wanted to buy something this morning, some building materials, but they refused the money (old notes), and the money to me now is useless. The Central Bank gave until January 31 for suspension of these old notes but people are not collecting them and the banks themselves are not giving us the new notes. What kind o chaos is this?”

Oladapo further told our correspondent that despite seeing new notes at the Access Bank branch, customers were being handed old notes.


“They told me they don’t have the new notes but I know they have, I saw some people that entered through the other side that came out with money (new notes) in leather bags. This is wrong, this is a Nigeria that all of us built and we want to move forward (but) the economy cannot move forward like this, what kind of thing is this? There is a great connivance, I faced it this money.”

THE WHISTLER attempted to hear the side of the bank but the bank manager who declined to mention his name said he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

“They just came from the NBA that they want to know the situation of the newly designed notes,” he said, adding “I’m not permitted to grant you interview.”

Another top official of Access Bank told THE WHISTLER that the bank has not violated the CBN cash redesigned policy.

According to the official, the bank does not hoard the new notes but loads them on the ATM machines to enable customers to withdraw in line with CBN’s directive.

The source said that based on the directive of the apex bank, the redesigned Naira Notes are to be loaded at the ATMs for withdrawal and not for over-the-counter transactions.

“The protesters visited Access Bank because it was the bank that was the closest to them when the protest started. They visited other banks and as such, Access Bank was not their target.

“Secondly, it is not true that Access Bank is hoarding the new naira Notes. Based on the CBN naira redesign policy, the notes are to be loaded on ATMs and dispensed to customers of banks through that medium. They are not for over-the-counter transactions.”

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