By Maxwell Oyekunle
As the deadline for the swap of the old 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes looms closer, there has been a serious scramble for new Naira notes at various banks.
Many of the ATM points of most banks visited across Ibadan, especially in the business district of Dugbe by our correspondent, were besieged by Nigerians who were desperate to get cash after they had deposited the old notes in their possession into the bank.
Most of them lamented that on top of the other issues like fuel price hikes and lack of electricity supply, they now have to pass through hardship in order to get cash to spend.
A resident of Ibadan, Mr Akinsola Akinade complained that he has spent close to an hour in the queue as most of the transactions he does on a daily basis are cash-based hence the need for him to get cash.
Mr Akinade said it would be difficult for him to get his children to school or transport himself home if he was unable to withdraw cash.
A trader, Mrs Rukayat Hassan said her inability to get cash will hamper her business as online transactions are very unstable at the moment.
Mrs Hassan then advised banks to load their ATMs with 50 and 100 denominations pending the time they are able to get the new notes in excess, in order to decongest the crowds at the ATM points.
A fracas almost broke out at the ATM Gallery of a popular bank on Lebanon Street in Dugbe after one man was using multiple cards to make withdrawals which elicited complaints and raised voices from the people who were in the queue behind him.
It took the intervention of calmer people for the situation not to deteriorate into fisticuffs as the exchange of words between the man and others behind him almost led to blows.
In another twist, being able to transact business in a banking hall on a Sunday morning in Nigeria is something that has not occurred before in living memory.
It was really a strange sight to behold to be able to walk into a Nigerian bank on a Sunday to do business.
An Okada rider, Mr Akeem Abbas said he was in his late 40s and he cannot remember if such a thing has ever happened before.
Mr Abbas added that it felt strange to be able to enter a bank on a Sunday and be able to transact business.
Following a directive by the apex bank of the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, most banks opened their doors to citizens on Sunday to enable people to deposit money in the old notes that would soon cease being legal tender.