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For the umpteenth time, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated that the January 31 deadline to turn in the old naira notes will not be extended.

Speaking during a press conference in Jos, Plateau State, the Director of Payment System Management of the bank, Mr. Musa Itokpa Jimoh, said that cash deposits to banks between now and January 31th attract no charges, adding that there is no limit to the amount of old notes people can deposit.

Jimoh said: “On October 26, 2022 last year, announcements of a plan to redesign the currency notes were made, and we gave December 15, 2022, as  the timeframe  of the currencies coming  into circulation, and true to that, we  actually made sure that the currencies were made available to the public. So, what we are doing is to ensure that these currencies get to all Nigerians in the nooks and crannies of the country, so that people can bring out the old currencies to the bank.

“The first thing we did was to inform the banks that there will be no charge for bringing the old notes into the bank. As much as you have of the old notes take them to the nearest bank and deposit them so that you can have the new notes. So, this has been the campaign since last year through several support groups, associations, using religious leaders and others.”

He said that the new notes have the same security features as the old ones, saying the same CBN that printed the old has printed the new notes. 

“In  line with the global practices, we  should change our currency notes every five years, we have had them for a long time; many people have been hoarding these old currency notes such that it has hampered our plan to know the amount of money in the economy. This is almost nine years since the last one was issued. It’s high time we changed this denomination, especially the larger ones; N200 notes and N500 notes, and N1,000 notes. That is why this exercise was embarked upon,” he said.

Jimoh added that the CBN had  to come out to demonstrate to the public that it is fully involved in this process to ensure that every individual is well informed about the new notes and of the need for the old currencies to return to the banks  for the new ones to get to the public.

“Last week, we went to several banks to ensure that the new currencies are being dispensed  because there have been complaints that the new notes were not available, and we do not want a situation where if you go to a bank branch and you are told that new notes are not available, and yet you see the notes in some people’s hands, in which case, there’s a preferential treatment.

“So, what we did was to make sure that all the new notes are fed into the ATMs. ATMs bring about the democratic process to which these funds can go out and reach all individuals as there is nothing like a preferential customer. We also ensured that the banks came to CBN to collect these new notes and put them into their ATMs,” he stated.

Jimoh assured Nigerians that the ATMs are  now dispensing the new notes, and the team has met with the local heads, chiefs, and royal fathers to carry out this sensitisation because it is believed that they can pass the message deeply into the communities.

He said: “During the sensitisation process, we got some complaints about some localities in Plateau State where there are no bank branches close by. So, the question was how would they take their money to the bank? We quickly leveraged on the POS agents to go and collect the new notes in these localities where the banks cannot reach and begin to do swap and we have seen massive collections of the new notes across the state and the country. This is why we are activating the monetary and the sensitization exercise again to ensure that agents that have collected the new notes are actually exchanging it with the old ones, especially where bank branches are not available.”

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•Don’t ruin economy, extend deadline for new naira not

Former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, has asked the Federal Government to put an end to the ongoing fuel shortages and price hike in the country.

Gana said the avoidable long queues in the filling stations are unacceptable and no longer tolerable.

He said this in Akure, the Ondo state capital, during the anniversary of the Archbishop Vining College of Theology.

According to him “the unnecessary fuel scarcity has crippled the economy of the country while motorists and commuters are subjected to untold suffering across the country as a result of poor supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

“We expect them to perform their duty because the fuel shortage is a serious problem and we know the government of the day should certainly do something decisively about the fuel crisis. 

“And so, we request them and urge them on behalf of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to do something urgently. It is not an appeal but the people of the nation is calling on government to do something urgently” he said. 

Also, the former Minister, frowned at the current unnecessary hardship being faced by the citizenry in accessing the new redesigned Naira notes in the country. 

According to him, a lot of people across the country could not access the new redesigned Naira notes despite the closeness to the deadline as stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He, however, called for immediate extension of the due date in order to allow the people to access the new redesigned Naira notes and nib the crisis in the bud.

 “The issue of new Naira notes, people are going through very serious difficulties, this is not a joke, we are speaking from what we see on the field and therefore they should not ruin this economy 

“Ordinary people cannot get access to the new notes and therefore we are very much in support for the extension of the date. 

“This is very important, it is not for elite but for people living in thousands of area within the country and don’t have access and they are the economy and they should therefore listen to those people. 

“People are against the policy, particularly, the limits in terms of withdrawal. There must be some logistics, moving around, it’s not a matter of buying votes or not.”

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A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has convicted and sentenced a man to death by hanging for killing four persons and using their intestines to prepare pepper soup meal in Okwalie community in the Khana Local Government Area of the state.

The convict, Bestman Lekia, also known as Biggie was found guilty of murder, armed robbery, burglary, kidnapping and cultism.

Lekia and others now at large were reportedly killed Gbodu Nobaale, Etim Ekpe, Nenalebarri Mmeabe and Loveday Mmeabe, after they were kidnapped and taken to an undisclosed location.

One of the victims, Mmeable’s stomach was said to have been ripped open and his intestines used to prepare pepper soup and plantain meal by the abductors in 2019.

The trial Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, in his judgment found Lekia guilty of murder, kidnapping, cultism and armed robbery.

Justice Enebeli stated that the prosecution counsel was able to prove his case with the necessary evidence and presentations.

He said the attitude of the convict throughout his trial proved that he was a hardened criminal, cultist and terror who if possible was supposed to be hanged four times and die four times.

Justice Enebeli ruled that he should be hanged by the neck until he was confirmed dead.

Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, the state prosecution counsel, Chidi Ekeh, expressed happiness with the judgment, saying it had taken a threat out of society.

Ekeh stated, “As a human being, I do not take delight in the fact that he (Lekia) is going to die. But I feel happy that the law and the state did not fail society. That Ogoni community will know peace that they will never see him again. So to me, it was a hard-nose judgment. The judge has demonstrated once again that he is worth his salt.”

The defence counsel, N. O. Megwari, declined to comment on the judgment.

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The projects inaugurated by the President include 10 selected projects executed by the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, the Meteorological Institute of Science and Technology, Katsina, constructed and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities by the federal government and a 400 tons per day capacity producing Darma Rice Mill constructed by Alhaji Dahiru Bara’u Mangal, a Katsina-based business mogul across the three senatorial zones of the state

Buhari, who began his official duty in the state last Thursday, inaugurated the Kofar Kaura Underpass, Katsina Water Supply Booster Station, Revenue House, Kofar Kwaya Underpass and remodelled Katsina General Hospital.

He inspected the ongoing work on the state’s first flyover at the Government Reserved Area, which is 90 per cent completed.

On the second day (Friday), Buhari traversed some local governments and communities of the state where he inaugurated General Hospital, Musawa, Government Day Secondary School, Musawa, Gora-Makauraci-Malamawa Road, rehabilitated and asphalted Sandamu-Baure-Babban-Mutum Road as well as the Gurjiya-Sandamu-Karkarku Road executed by the state government.

However, in all places where Buhari inaugurated the projects, he did not make a speech as he only read the plaques that carried the inscription of the date on which the projects were inaugurated.

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