Interview With Naira Notes: “Everything Is Packaging”

May 21, 2021

Interview With… is a Zikoko weekly series that explores the weird and interesting lives of inanimate objects and non-human entities.


Naira notes are an important part of being Nigerian. After all, we use them in exchange for goods and services. But there has been a lot of talk surrounding them. There’s the reduction in value, as well as the claim that they are simply weak, not useless.

Today on Interview With, the Naira notes tell us how life has been for them.

Zikoko: Hello, we are so glad to have you with us today.

₦500: Thank you.

₦200: It’s nothing.

₦5: We are also—

₦100: Keep quiet. Let the adults talk first before you put mouth.

₦10: Ahan, that is too much. ₦5 has been in circulation for 48 years. At least consider that. 

₦200: Okay, we agree. But can it buy one sachet of water today?

₦100: Even the ₦10 that is doing lawyer, what can it buy?

₦10: I can—

₦50: I don’t know why ₦10 and ₦5 like arguing sha. When it’s not like we are collecting award.

₦20: Even if they will share award, is it our type they are looking for?

₦1,000: Can this interview continue or should I stand up and go? I have important places to be.

Sorry. Let’s get back on track.

₦500: Please and please oh, from now on. Let the adults talk before the small-small ones put mouth.

Actually, I think

₦20: When you say small-small ones, who are you referring to? Since you want to prove seniority, kuku call their names, let everybody know where they belong.

₦10: Toh. Cause the last time I checked, me, ₦20, and ₦10 are the oldest here. We have been in circulation for 48 years. ₦50 has been around for 30 years. ₦100 is 22 years old and ₦200 is 21. You, ₦500, you are just 20 years old. And ₦1,000 that is talking about important places is just ₦16 years old. 

So when you say small-small ones, maybe you should look in the mirror first.

₦200: I swear, all this is not necessary.

₦100: It is necessary, please. I cannot stand here and be insulted by people that are not useful in the market. You people are shouting that you are older. But what exactly can you buy?

Gone are those days when children used to appreciate ₦5 dash. Give any child ₦5 or ₦10 now and they will curse you. If your change remains ₦10 in a supermarket, they will just give you sweet and tell you bye-bye. ₦20 that is even struggling, people are already complaining about your association with ₦50 when it’s time to buy soft drinks. 

And now, soft drink has now become ₦150, which means if you are not careful, you will soon join ₦5, ₦10 and ₦20 to be fighting for age. It is when you have nothing else to offer that you start fighting for age.

That is… a lot. 

₦100: Sometimes, you need to put people where they belong.

₦1,000: Something is smelling. [Sniffs the air]

Oh. What could that be?

₦200: I’m wearing perfume, so it’s not me.

₦5: I’ve not gone out in months, so it’s not me.

₦10: Same.

₦50: I’m new, so it’s not me.

₦1,000: Something is smelling really bad. 

Should I get the air freshener?

₦500: Please do.

₦1,000: Ah, never mind. I just remembered that ₦100 is sitting next to me. It’s the torn and dirty note.

₦5: Oops.

₦100: Are you—

₦1,000: Please endeavour to bathe and apply perfume next time. We know you are suffering, but you don’t have to look dirty all the time. Isn’t that why the Central Bank gave you a makeover?

₦20: LMAO. May we not defend people that will disgrace us.

₦50: My dear!

₦100: But is it my fault that Nigerians don’t know how to handle money? 

₦1,000: Maybe if you were more valuable, they would handle you with care.

₦5: Ye. Double homicide!

Can I ask a very honest question?

₦1,000: Have you been asking dishonest questions?

Would you refer to yourself as weak or useless?

₦1,000: Did ₦100 pay you to insult me?

No oh, I’m just asking generally. They said we should stop saying that the naira is useless, that it is just weak.

₦500: Who are the “they”?

₦200: E reach to ask.

Best in CV, Ogbeni Dipo.

₦1,000: Mtcheew. 

₦200: [Bursts into laughter]

₦500: Weak and useless, what is the difference? If something is weak, is it still useful?

₦5: See ehn!

₦500: LOL. ₦5 please. You are a combination of weak and useless. Don’t even argue.

₦1,000: Listen to me, Mr Interviewer. Everything you see like this, it’s packaging. I can only make mouth when I am in Nigeria. If other currencies come to this interview, I will keep shut because I know my level. Is it Dollars I want to compete with or Pounds? Where is the strength?

Even Nigeria that I am in sef, if you remove ₦100 out of me, I have become useless. So what is the point? I know there is power in the tongue oh, but when it comes to naira notes, please and please, that power has changed hands.

So, are you saying

₦1,000: If OgbeniDipo wants to change our life, let us all assemble to him so he can design our CV for us. Maybe when the foreign market sees our CV and see that Ogbeni Dipo has a hand in it, we will stop being devalued.

₦200: And if he thinks words of affirmation can change our value, he should tell us where to come and meet him.

₦100: You guys, I think—

₦500: My dear, your own case is different. It will take more than words of affirmation and power of the tongue to change your life.

₦100: I hate—

₦5: Rest.

Is there a reason why you have refused to associate with Nigerians? People are looking for you. 

₦20: [Mumbles]

You said?

₦20: I said even the president has refused to associate with you people. What is now our own?

₦50: Does Buhari even remember that he is the president of this country?

₦100: Will you go and remind him?

₦50: Please and please, don’t shout at me. Face the ₦1,000 that insulted you.

Guys, please. Streets are tough. Constable Sapa is in town.

₦1,000: Who or what is Constable Sapa? 

₦200: Poverty plus hunger.

₦1,000: That is Sapa’s cup of tea.

₦500: You people should not disturb us, please. We are processing our visa applications.

You don’t mean it.

₦100: I heard you guys are going to Canada. I don’t know if I can join you people.

₦200: [Bursts into laughter]

₦500: What was that you just said?

₦200: Wait, what did you say?

₦100: Erm, I’d like to join you people and go to Canada.

₦200: Are you blind?

₦1,000: Are you sick or something? You want to join us to Canada. 

₦500: I can see you don’t know your class anymore. 

₦1,000: My friend will you get out of this place, you stink with poverty!

₦5, ₦10, ₦20 & ₦50: 

₦5: We will soon be out of circulation. Would you like to join us?

₦100: [Hisses and storms out in anger]

Check back every Friday by 9am for new stories in the Interview With… series. Read older interviews here.

Kunle Ologunro

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