The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has pledged to support the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to ensure that the objectives of the exchange of old currency are achieved.
CAN Secretary, Abia State, Rev. Dr. Okechukwu Mgbeahuru, who made the promise when he received an audience with members of CBN, said that churches in the state will help educate their members about the new law.
Rev. Mgbeahuru thanked the CBN for identifying the need to go around the church through the new law and promised to help spread the message to different parts of CAN.
He said public awareness of the new policy could be spread quickly through faith-based organizations.
CAN noted with concern that the new Naira notes were still scarce, and urged the apex bank to help clear the impediments slowing down the circulation process.
Adding his voice, the Abia State Coordinator of Nigeria Prays, Dr Chuks Alozie, lauded the CBN for the policy, saying that any economic policy that will help revive Nigeria’s economy will receive the tacit support of the church.
Speaking earlier, leader of the CBN team, and the Head, Corporate Communications Department of the apex bank, Osita Nwanisiobi, said that they were in the state to enlighten the public on the details of the new policy, and to assess the level of compliance by commercial banks on the distribution directives of the new currency notes.
He noted some complaints by traders and members of the public that the new notes were not fully circulating.
The CBN Spokesperson said the team had visited some banks where it was found that many of the banks were still dispensing the old currency notes in their Automated Teller Machines, ATMs.
Nwanisiobi said the team had noted some of the challenges that commercial banks said they had in distributing the new currency notes, promising that in the coming days more new Naira notes would be in circulation.
He said the banks had been sternly warned to ensure they load their ATMs with only the new naira notes, and not to dispense the new notes over the counter for now.
Nwanisiobi threatened heavy sanctions against any commercial bank found hoarding the new currency notes or flouting the guidelines on their distribution.
He said that the CBN had enough of the new currency notes, while urging commercial banks to come to the apex bank and collect their allocations.
Addressing traders earlier at Ubani Ultra Modem Market, Nwanisiobi said that the January 31 deadline for the old currency notes to cease being a legal tender, was sacrosanct.
He urged traders to deposit all their old currency notes before the deadline, adding that people without bank accounts could still sway their old currency notes through Supper agents in communities and hamlets where there are no banks.
He also urged people to embrace other payment options for their financial transactions to minimize the use of physical cash.
In a remark, Vice Chairman of the market, Chief Chikaodi Chukwunyere, pleaded with the CBN to send super agents to the market for currency swap for people without bank accounts.
The CBN team also took the public enlightenment to the mosques in Umuahia to sensitise Muslim faithful.
In an interview with newsmen, Chief Joseph Anosike ( Niger Tailors), accused commercial banks of sabotaging the new policy by taking the new naira notes to politicians.
He regretted that the masses expecting to get the new naira notes via ATMs get disappointed as most of the banks still dispense the old notes through their ATMs.