Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
There was a crowd of people at the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Umuahia branch, as residents make spirited efforts to deposit the old currency notes in their custody.
Canopies were set outside the inner gate of the compound where customers with old currency notes clustered to register for the process.
When Ikengaonline visited the CBN premises, people who came to deposit their old naira notes were seen in clusters waiting to be attended to by the few CBN officials around.
Most of the people looked frustrated and dejected over the rigour involved in the process which they said was very slow.
Some of them who spoke with our Correspondent said they came as early as 6:00 am but had not been attended to around 1:50:00pm when our Correspondent visited the premises.
Mr Beneth Ibe, from Ofoeme in Umuahia North, said he came as early as 9:00am to deposit N60,000 belonging to his uncle who had no bank account but had been keeping his money in the village.
He regretted that the naira re-design policy was inflicting economic pain on the poor masses.
“The poor masses are the ones suffering. People were not given enough time to prepare for this, and it’s too bad. They didn’t take poor folks in the villages into consideration.
“Since I came here I have not succeeded and they told us that by 2:00pm they will close.”
Similarly, Dagogo Odor, a businessman from Rivers State, expressed disappointment and frustration over the entire process.
He accused the CBN of not providing clear information on the deadline for the old currency notes to cease to be legal tender especially considering the Supreme Court order that said it should not be de-recognised.
Asked whether the frustrations would affect his participation in the forthcoming polls, Odor said he had already made up his mind to participate in the polls whether or not he succeeded in depositing his old currency notes.
Another depositor, Joy Ugonma, said she had no hope of beating the February 17 deadline in view of the crowd at the CBN.
She decried the slow process but said she would still tarry to see if she could succeed.
Meanwhile, CBN officials at the venue could not speak with our Correspondent as they appeared overwhelmed by the crowd.