President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, on Thursday, has urged the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele to extend the date for the expiration of old naira notes adding that it would affect the lives of people in the rural areas.
Comrade Wabba made this call in response to questions during a media chat with members of the Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria (LACAN) in Abuja.
The NLC President condemned the insistence of the CBN to go ahead of its policy on none usage of N1000, N500 and N200 note in Nigeria starting from January 31st.
The labour union affirmed that the newly redesigned notes of the three currency are not widely circulated for the citizens to use.
He stated further that the CBN will throw many Nigerians, especially those in the rural village into more hardship if it goes ahead to enforce the decision on the last day of January.
He disclosed, “We align ourselves fully with the position of Senate because we go to the rural areas. We have workers in rural areas. We have many of our local governments that don’t have banking facilities and some of those areas are even very hard to reach.
“So we call for this policy to be reviewed and to give an extension so that all the old notes can then be mopped up by the bank. We call on CBN, particularly in areas where you don’t have banks, don’t just go to one or two local governments as they did in Borno. Don’t select places and then tell the media that you are doing the right thing, you are doing the wrong thing.
“The new notes are not in circulation and the old notes are being rejected. They are pushing people to the wall and very soon people will react.
“Importantly, even in city centres, where we have banks, the banks are not dispensing. If you go to the rural areas and see the chaotic nature of how people have come with their money to change, it is becoming a problem.
“No policy should be meant to haunt people like what is happening now. And we have called on the government to look at this issue very carefully before it snowballs into a major crisis.
“The fact of the matter is that the new notes are not available. There are only a few in circulation. The situation is worst in the areas because most of our rural areas don’t have banks. In the state, I come from, in the entire state, we have only three banks. We have 27 local governments, and only three local governments have banks: Jere, Maiduguri and Biu. Of all the other local governments; 24 of them don’t have banks.
“I learned that the CBN went to 1 or 2 local governments with cash, and they were exchanging 10,000. So we must think through these policies. You cannot just come up with policies that punish Nigerian people. I’m sure that those this policy is targeted are not the people that will feel the consequences of this policy, rather it is the poor masses and even the working class that will feel the pinch of this policy,.”