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NEW NAIRA SCARCITY: SOKOTO, ZAMFARA, KATSINA BORDER RESIDENTS TRADE IN CFA

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Sami Olatunji and Damilola Aina, Maiharaji Altine, Daud Olatunji, Animasahun Salman, Hindi Livinus, Olaide Oyelude, Uthman Abubakar and Tunde Oyekola

Residents of border communities in states including Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina,  Adamawa and Kwara have opted for the CFA franc following the scarcity of the new naira notes across the country.

The residents, including traders and commercial drivers, are also rejecting the old naira notes, insisting that customers who do not have the new redesigned currency must pay for goods and services with CFAs.

The CFA franc is the legal tender in eight West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union, otherwise known as the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine.

Findings by The PUNCH indicated that businessmen and traders in the Zurmi and Shinkafi local government areas of Zamfara State, which border the Niger Republic, prefer the franc to the naira.

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Investigation revealed that traders in the two LGAs had been selling their commodities in CFA due to fear that they might not get the new naira notes.

A cattle dealer, Musa Shehu, said he stopped receiving the Nigerian currency since the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the deadline for the swap of the N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.

He stated, “I have since stopped receiving the old naira notes because I don’t have an account and I can’t go to the bank.”

A trader in Shinkafi town, who shuttles between Nigeria and Niger Republic, explained that most of his customers paid with the CFA.

“I cannot collect old naira notes and give out my commodities to any customer. But I will collect new naira notes and CFA because I am afraid of losing my money if the time for the exchange expires,’’ the trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

A grain seller in Dada village in Zurmi Local Government, Muhammadu Isa, disclosed that he stopped selling grains in the Nigerian currency after the CBN’s policy on new naira notes was unveiled.

He said that he sold only to those who possessed CFAs to avoid losing money as ‘’my father did in 1983 when the naira notes were hurriedly changed by the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime.’’

Isa explained that his late father lost all his money when Buhari changed the national currency in 1983.

The grain trader insisted that he would not accept the old naira notes as there was no bank or Point of Service terminal in his community where he could withdraw the new currencies.

“You see since our people and those from the Niger Republic are coming to buy the grains with the CFA, I see no reason why I should collect old naira notes. If anybody wants to buy grains from me, he must pay in CFA or forget it. I will not collect old naira notes because I don’t know what to do with them after the expiration of the deadline,” he noted.

In a related development, commercial drivers who ply the Niger Republic from Zurmi and Shinkafi LGAs have also stopped collecting the old notes.

They justified their decision with the argument that the CFA was the only legal tender accepted by the people along the Nigeria-Niger borders.

A driver, Alhaji Hamisu, stated that passengers had to pay in CFA if they wanted to travel to the Niger Republic or return to Nigeria ‘’because the old naira notes are unacceptable as legal tender.’’

Hamisu said, “I have on several occasions refused to collect the old naira notes from my passengers because I have no time to go to the bank or PoS to get the new notes.

“Another problem is that you can’t buy fuel with the old naira notes in Niger republic; as such, no commercial driver on cross-border journeys will agree to take the old notes from passengers.

“I was almost stranded in Malbaza town in Niger Republic when I wanted to buy fuel with the old naira notes because we have been doing so before the change of the Nigerian currency.

“I went to the filling station as usual and bought 30 litres of fuel and brought out the old notes but the fuel attendant told me that he would not accept the notes.

“I pleaded with him but he was not ready to collect the money from me. I was lucky as one of the commercial drivers, who is also my friend, came to buy fuel and he had enough CFAs. I bought the CFA from him and settled the fuel attendant.”

Sokoto border traders

Also, our correspondent discovered that border communities in Sokoto State preferred to sell their products in CFA due in part to the non-availability of the new notes and the continuous loss of naira value.

Speaking with The PUNCH, Mallam Sidi Isa, who trades in cattle in Illela, a border community with the Niger Republic, said he preferred the franc because of the introduction of the new naira notes and the cashless policy.

Also speaking, Mr Jamiu Ola, a motor mechanic, argued that the CFA holds more value than the naira.

“I prefer CFA due to the fact that it is hardly devalued unlike our own naira which has been devalued,” he added.

A businessman, Mallam Haruna Abdulazeez, stated, “I shifted my business to the Niger Republic when I realised I can’t cope with the economy of this country anymore.

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LAGOS GOVT TO SUE CHRISLAND SCHOOL, OTHERS FOR MANSLAUGHTER, NEGLIGENCE

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Chrisland school

The Lagos State Government said it would sue Chrisland High School, Ikeja, some members of staff, and one of the vendors for “Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless and Negligent Acts,” following the death of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Adeniran, during a sporting event organised by the school.

This is according to a Friday statement released by the Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Justice and published to the ministry’s website.

“On the 9th of February 2023, Whitney Omodesola Adeniran, a student of Chrisland High School, Ikeja, aged 12 years, slumped during the Inter-house Sports organised by the school at the Agege Sports Stadium and was subsequently rushed to the Agege Central Hospital, Agege, Lagos, where she was confirmed ‘brought in dead’ (BID) by the doctor on duty,” the statement partly read.

The statement added that the case was referred to the police “which carried out a thorough investigation with the help of other agencies,” adding that, “The file (of the case) was subsequently forwarded to the DPP (Directorate of Public Prosecutions)’ Office on Monday 20th March, 2023, for review of the duplicate case file.

“On the 23rd of March, 2023, the DPP issued his Legal Advice and came to the conclusion that a prima facie case of Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless and Negligent Acts had been established against the school, some members of staff and one of the vendors.”

Consequently, the statement noted that they shall “be charged with the offences of Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless and Negligent Acts contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, Ch C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

“Information will be filed in accordance with the legal advice issued by the DPP. Certified True Copies of the Legal advice are available on the Ministry of Justice website (www.lagosstatemoj.org.).”

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BUHARI NEVER SAID HE WON’T HAND OVER TO TINUBU- PRESIDENCY

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*Says 13 committees already set up to midwife transition 

*’President’s Daura community yearning to welcome him back’

The Presidency yesterday declared as “unfounded” insinuations in some quarters that President Muhammadu Buhari who campaigned vigorously for the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the presidential-elect, has vowed not to hand over to him.
Rather, it said the Buhari-led government, which is currently at transition stage, had constituted different committees to midwife a new administration come May 29, 2023.


The Presidency in a statement entitled, “The President Never Said He Won’t Hand Over To Elected Tinubu”, issued by presidential spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, also added that the hometown of President Buhari in Daura, Katsina State is agog with arrangements for the return of their son after his eight-year tenure as Nigerian President.


Shehu, in the statement said: “The Presidency wishes to denounce as outrageous and fake, and condemns the fake news brigade for attributing a false quote to President Muhammadu Buhari and circulating it.


“How can you vigorously campaign for somebody, vote for him and then say you won’t hand over to him? This beggars belief.”
He described the alleged report published by an online newspaper as “pretty pathetic”, adding: “Since their ownership is politically partisan in today’s politics, in fact a loser in the presidential election. Instead of talking about issues, they repeatedly sell lies in the hope that people believe them as truth.


“The government is already in the transition phase. The Transition Committee, made up of representatives of the outgoing administration and the incoming one is meeting on an almost daily basis planning the handover to the Tinubu/Shettima administration.
“Thirteen committees as offshoots of the main committee, some to arrange military drills and pulling out of President Buhari, are either all at work or soon to be. So far, everything is going very well and there is no indication of any hitches.


“As for the President, the Daura community has begun their preparations to receive their son back after the successful administration of the country for two terms of eight years. He, on his part, is eager to return home to enjoy his retirement.”

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GODWIN OBASEKI EXTENDS RETIREMENT AGE FOR TEACHERS IN EDO

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Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has raised the retirement age for teachers in Edo State to 65 or 40 years of service. This is part of his plan to improve the welfare of workers.

Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has raised the retirement age for teachers in Edo State to 65 or 40 years of service. This is part of his plan to improve the welfare of workers.

Anthony Okungbowa, the state’s Head of Service, said this in a statement. He said that the governor’s approval shows that he is still committed to building a solid foundation for repositioning the education sector in the state.

He said: “Mr Governor has approved a new retirement age for teachers in Edo State. They will now retire when they clock 65 or 40 years of service, whichever is earlier.

“This is in demonstration of his commitment to ensuring that Edo teachers are the best motivated in Nigeria. It is important to remind Edo people that Edo teachers are the best-paid teachers and Edo workers are the best-paid workers in any public service in Nigeria.”

He said that the transition would ensure that teachers with decades of experience would keep their jobs and continue to help Edo students get a good education.

“This is another big win for Edo workers. The governor has continued to show that he will always place the interest of Edo workers above all else. Today, this is another testimony to that fact.”

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