Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Central Bank of Nigeria, Saturday, intensified its awareness campaigns on the naira re-design policy across communities in Abia State.
This, is as the apex bank has insisted that there is no going back on the January deadline for the old N1000, N500, and N200 notes to cease from being used as legal tenders.
CBN monitoring team which grouped itself into four, traversed communities in all 17 councils of the state to sensitise rural dwellers as well as urban residents on the need to deposit their old currency notes before the deadline.
The team also encouraged residents particularly those without bank accounts to approach Super Agents in their vicinities for currency swap but cautioned that no person should be allowed to swap more than N10,000.
Meanwhile, rural dwellers in most of the communities were excited to receive the CBN team but complained that the new currency notes were still scarce in rural communities.
Speaking with Ikengaonline, Obinna Offor, a resident of Okpoton Bende, complained that commercial banks still dispensed old currency notes via their Automated Teller Machines, ATMs.
He appealed to CBN to compel commercial banks to ensure the new notes were available for their customers.
It was the same appeal in other communities including Itumbuzo, a bother community with Akwa Ibom; Igbere, Nkopro, Mbom Ibeku, Ohuhu and Uzuakoli.
In some of the banks monitored within the metropolis, it was observed that not all their ATMs were functional and even among those working, some dispensed old notes.
Later in an interview, Team Lead, and Head, Corporate Communications, CBN, Osita Nwanisiobi, said that apex bank had pushed reasonable amount of the new currency notes to commercial banks in the state.
He urged the banks to ensure strict compliance with the CBN guidelines on the distribution of the new notes, warning that any bank or bank staff caught sabotaging the policy will be severely sanctioned.
He, however, noted that despite some observable challenges, commercial banks in the state were making efforts to comply with guidelines.
Nwanisiobi who said that the CBN team would sustain the aggressive sensitisation across communities in the state, expressed optimism that more new currency notes would be in circulation before the deadline.
He re-stated that banks would be open on Sunday to attend to people coming for transactions.
Nwanisiobi appealed to all to help make the new policy to succeed as it is aimed at strengthening the Nigerian economy.