Long queues at commercial banks in Lagos have suddenly disappeared following the injection of more banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into commercial banks.
The apex bank had on Thursday confirmed the evacuation of bank notes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of the banknotes of various denominations.
The bank also directed all commercial banks to open for operations on Saturdays and Sundays.
The apex bank said that a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.
CBN had directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
Meanwhile, a correspondent of NAN who monitored some of the banks in the metropolis to check compliance, reported that the long queues drastically reduced, not all bank ATMs dispensed and banks only paid customers who are account holders in their banks.
The banks visited along Ajao Estate Road in Oshodi–Isolo and Alimosho local government areas are Guarantee TrustHolding Company (GTCO), Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank, Zenith Bank, Firstbank, United Bank for Africa, Globus bank, Polaris Bank and Union Bank.
Banks who paid their customers had limits to what they pay, which range from N5,000, N10,000 and N20,000.
Some banks paid N10,000 to their customers, N5,000 to non-customers and others only to bank customers.
An official at one of the banks which pay N20,000 to its customers said that for a customer to be paid the amount, the person must put his or her BVN down with a thumbprint to ensure that they do not withdraw above the specified limit.
Ayotunde Dayo, a transporter, who expressed joy that the long queues were gone, urged the apex bank to adequately supply banks with enough cash that could go around for everyone to access.
“This rationing of cash that banks are doing is not the best, when I heard that CBN had asked banks to begin to pay customers cash even on weekends, I was happy because the suffering of the people would reduce.
“But from the look of things, the sufferings will still continue because many banks only pay to their customers, if you are a non-customer, nothing for you.
“I use GTB but because I heard Zenith was paying I had to stop over to withdraw, but on getting here, I am told that I have no business being here because they only pay to their customers and it’s N5,000. This is not good,’’ he said.
Mrs Paulina Ikechukwu, a Secondary School Teacher, urged the apex bank to ensure enough cash was moved to commercial banks and accessible to everyone.
“The banks need to be faster because the masses are dying of hunger since the naira redesign came on board.
“CBN should monitor the banks and ensure they comply; the typical Nigerian banks that I know would start well now and do something else in the coming days,’’ she said.
Mrs Balogun Shokunbi, a petty trader in Ajao Estate Market, however, blamed the scarcity of cash on Point of Sale (POS) operators, saying they connived with bank officials and security men to empty cash from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
She urged the apex bank to monitor them and ensure they did not go to the banks at the night to empty the cash in the ATMs.
“I sell in the market and I have friends who render POS services and they have told me how they get the money they use for their business.
“One of them was even boasting of the money that she has made since the redesigned notes policy came up. I pray CBN will continue to pump in money to the banks so that we can all go back to our normal lives,’’ she said.