Naira redesign: Atiku calls for ‘slight’ extension of deadline to avert ‘heavy discomfort’


Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline for the validity of old naira notes.


There has been increased tension in the country as Nigerians scramble to meet up with the deadline amid poor circulation of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 series.


This has led to several calls for the extension of the January 31 deadline — but the CBN has insisted that it will not shift ground.


In a broadcast on Saturday, Atiku said a lot of people, particularly those in remote areas, will be unable to meet the deadline.


He asked for “a slight extension”, adding that it will be magnanimous of the government to ease the burden on Nigerians.


“The ongoing policy of the CBN to redesign the naira has generated wide reactions across the country and beyond,” he said.


“This exercise is a worldwide practice and therefore, not new. Especially as the January 31st deadline draws closer, a great number of Nigerians, out of good conscience, have expressed apprehension about how the deadline will make life more difficult for a large number of Nigerians.


 “The large number of unbanked population who do their businesses, especially in the rural area, will find it almost impossible to meet up with the deadline of January 31st to exchange their old bank notes for the redesigned currency.


“I’m aware of the challenges that farmers and others, like artisans, in remote areas of the country go through in moving cash from remote areas to commercial banks for conversion.


“On this note, I’m compelled to align my position with the upsurge of demands for a slight extension of the monetary conversion policy.


“The January 31st deadline will certainly cause a heavy discomfort on our people and it will be magnanimous on the part of government and regulatory agencies to ease the burden on the people in the public interest.”


The PDP standard bearer asked the CBN to continue sensitising the public about mobile banking while an extension is granted.


“While we can continue to sensitise the public on the impending imperative of mobile banking policy, it is important for the CBN to consider an extension of time that the public can convert their unbanked monies into new notes thereby reducing the financial consequences on these vulnerable citizens,” he said.


“I believe such a painful experience is not the intention behind the currency redesign initiative.”

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