…extracts promise of relief from Tuesday

The Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday paid an unscheduled visit to the Abeokuta branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to seek relief on the amounts that citizens can withdraw in exchange for deposits made in commercial banks.

The governor, who met with the apex bank management in Abeokuta led by the Branch Controller, Wahab Oseni, also offered to lend members of his cabinet to monitor cash distribution to banks to ensure that no commercial bank or their agents hoard the new naira notes in the state.

Abiodun, who later met with Bankers Forum made up of managers of commercial banks in the state, also extracted a commitment from both the CBN and commercial banks to making cash available to bank customers from Tuesday (today).

The governor said it was disappointing to see residents on long queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) waiting to cash money from the system with so much stress and some not getting enough to meet their immediate needs.

He added that it was humiliating that those who were attended to were paid not more than 2,000 per transaction.

He urged the CBN to ensure the availability of the new notes at commercial banks for people to withdraw their money.

The governor explained that he was compelled to visit the state branch of the CBN as the landlord to seek the best way to collaborate in order to ensure the success of the CBN policy on the new notes and currency swap.

“I’ve met with the president and CBN governor. It is within the right of the CBN by law and as enshrined in the Constitution,” Abiodun said.

He said the people went out in their numbers to deposit their old notes but were unable to withdraw as much money as they had deposited or need for their daily needs and welfare and wellbeing.

“We’ve had to suspend our campaigns. I met with people over the weekend who said to me that they have not eaten for days, especially, those from the informal sector.

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“As a governor, whose primary function is the welfare and security of our people, I need to find out how we can interact with you to see how we can improve on the current level of distribution of the currency in order to diffuse tension,” Abiodun said.

The governor appealed to the youths in the state not to embark on any civil unrest, noting that such actions would only shut down the economy of the state and make things much more difficult.

“I want to use this medium to talk to our youths that when there is a problem, the solution is not to hit the streets and to start protest marches; we can not solve a problem with another problem.

“I want to plead with our youths that rather than sending social media announcements of impending disobedience around town, they should embrace peace. We are a very peaceful state; we are very orderly and we have spent a lot of time and energy to invest in that peace and security.

“You cannot because of this problem now want to begin to hit the street to shut down the system and commercial activities,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the state controller of the CBN, Wahab Oseni pleaded with the people to exercise patience.

He assured the people of the state that they would start having access to more cash as from Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

Oseni, while noting that the Ogun State branch of the bank had enough cash to distribute among commercial banks in the state, disclosed that the bank had come up with a plan that would see 40 percent cash disbursed to money agents, 30 percent paid across the counter, and 30 percent paid through the ATM.

He also added that microfinance banks in the state have also been added to the plan of cash disbursement across the country.

The meeting was attending by representatives of the CBN from Lagos and Abuja, Mr Adefuye Adeyemi and Mr Kayode Makinde, who assured the people of the state that the situation would improve on Tuesday, noting that the bank would ensure full compliance by commercial banks on the disbursement of cash.

Both the controller and the state government team led by Gov. Abiodun later had a session with commercial bank executives in his office on modalities agreed with the apex bank to ease the naira scarcity facing the people.