As Nigerians, it’s only fair we get a free pass to heaven when we die because we have gone through hell already.
On October 26, 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced plans to give our naira a makeover and barely one month later, President Muhammadu Buhari and CBN governor Godwin “Meffy” Emefiele launched the new naira notes like a new bride. Little did we know that this would be the beginning of another story of frustration, anger, and bitterness for many Nigerians.
After the new naira launch, the CBN said it’d become the official tender by January 31, 2023, making the old banknotes illegal. But, getting new notes from banks or ATMs proved to be more difficult than finding an honest politician for the following reasons:
- ATMs weren’t configured to recognise the new notes
- CBN’s cashless policy and restrictions on over-the-counter bank withdrawals
It soon became apparent that the January 31 deadline wasn’t feasible. After weeks of pleading with Meffy, the CBN finally agreed to extend the deadline for the exchange of the new banknotes to February 10, 2023. However, it’s four days to the end of the new deadline, and Nigerians have experienced a different dimension of suffering. This time, it’s Naira scarcity.
In the past few days, ATMs hardly dispense either new or old cash, and banks haven’t been releasing enough of the new notes to make it circulate naturally. Thus, POS operators now demand unreasonably high charges for cash withdrawals. People who refuse to pay these charges have resorted to using any means possible to get their money from banks.
And we can’t deny that some of their methods, albeit strange, have worked well. So here are five easy ways that might help you get your hands on the new banknotes.
Do vigils at ATM galleries
Have you ever heard the saying: “sleep is for the weak”.? As you might already know, these days, people spend their day at banks or in front of ATMs waiting for their turn to make a withdrawal. But chances are you’ll get half of what you want when you get to the counter, or the ATM will run out of money when it gets to your turn.
So, instead of facing this disappointment, think one step ahead and wait till 2–3 a.m. when money will be loaded into the machines. Just remember to take a blanket so you won’t use the money to treat malaria.
We’ve all probably learnt by now that nothing good comes easy in this country. On February 3, 2023, a video broke on the internet of bank customers fighting inside a banking hall because of the new banknotes.
If you’re smart about it, this is another way to quickly get your hands on the new naira. Just go to the bank prepared, look for someone you think won’t knock you unconscious with a punch and pick a fight.
If you do it properly and cause enough disruption, the bank officials will probably attend to you quickly to let you go with your wahala. The downside is that it might not work, and you may be thrown out of the bank.
Make friends with officials in your church or mosque
This period has shown us the importance of making friends with the right people. Regardless of the country’s situation, many people still have cash to give as offerings. So, for those with usher friends, you can transfer the amount you want to the church or mosque’s account and collect the cash equivalent.
In the past week, we’ve seen people use underhand tactics to get their money from banks, but the most shocking ones so far are those who choose to strip themselves. However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and this is one of the few times where Nigeria’s conservative nature can work in your favour.
So, there is a high chance that before you completely strip yourself naked, the bank’s management would step in to listen to your demands.
Go to a betting shop
Again, it’s important to make friends with people in the right places, and right now, POS operators, fuel attendants, ushers and betting agents should be your best friends. Why? They have access to cash. If you’re lucky enough to know a betting agent and can appeal to their better nature, you can kiss the naira scarcity problem goodbye.
Still, it’s beyond silly that the federal government’s putting citizens in such a difficult situation. And it won’t be long before the protests in Ibadan replicate in other states.
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