Some Nigerians, on Wednesday, lauded the Supreme Court’s ruling which invalidated the Feb. 10 deadline imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes to cease to be legal tenders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro had on Tuesday ruled on an exparte application filed by three Northern state governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.
In separate interviews with NAN in Akure, the residents said that the ruling of the court was a great relief considering the hardship Nigerians have been facing since the implementation of the policy on the redesigned naira notes.
An Economist, Dr Michael Oke, applauded the judgment, adding that the hardship faced in getting the redesigned naira notes in deposit banks and Point of Sale (POS) terminals was becoming unbearable for an average Nigerian.
Oke said that there should be more sensitisation on cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that Nigeria needed a robust internet infrastructure for the policy to be effective.
Oke, a lecturer at the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, said that the cashless policy was good, but that the timing was bad or too short.
He said that if the challenges were addressed, Nigerians would enjoy the policy.
According to him, the cash scarcity may be as a result of inadequate supply from CBN, thus the banks have had to ration what was dispensed to their customers.
“If the CBN claims that there is enough cash in circulation, then the banks might be hoarding or colluding with politicians to make the new notes available to them for the purpose of election.
“Perhaps one of the main reasons for introducing the policy is to checkmate unnecessary election spending, the cashless policy is indeed a good one.
“If there is proper implementation in terms of time frame and adequate publicity and education, the policy will be embraced,” he said.
Also, Mrs Oluwafunke Ademola, a POS operator in Akure, said that the court’s order would bring relief to Nigerians.
Ademola said that the situation was becoming worse on daily basis and the unavailability of cash had impeded economic transactions.
The POS, who was sitting idly in her shop, said that all her efforts to get cash from ATM were abortive, stressing that only few banks’ ATMs were dispensing N10,000 to their customers.
Ademola said that for a couple of days she has not had access to both old and new naira notes.
“The only major source of getting cash is to buy from filling stations attendants who charged 10 per cent,’’ she said.
Ademola asked the CBN to increase the withdrawal limit and mandate commercial banks to allow customers to withdraw at least N100,000 daily.
Also speaking, another POS attendant, Miss Grace Uko, described the current situation in the country as uncalled for.
She said that the court’s judgment would address some parts of the policy, which she described as ill-timed.
“I think that as Nigerians, we deserve better from those in places of authorities.
NAN reports that many commercial banks in Akure did not open due to fears of possible attack as witnessed in some parts of the country while ATM points were crowded with hordes of people struggling to get money. (NAN)