CBN’s currency deadline and Borno’s dormant banks

It is roughly one month to the January 31, 2023, deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for every Nigerian to replace his or her money (legitimate) to the new redesigned N1000, N500 and N200 notes, yet there is no hope for the resettled Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to liberated local government areas in Borno state. 

It could be recalled that the Boko Haram insurgency has given the banking sector an indecent burial in many local government areas of Borno state, throwing millions of people to the cities and crippling socio-economic and political activities in the affected areas. 

Thankfully today for the efforts of the gallant troops and our invincible hardworking governor, Professor  Babagana Umara Zulum, normalcy has been restored, businesses and other social activities have come back to life. 

But the problem is; there are local government areas like: Kukawa, Banki, Monguno, Guzamala, Mobar, Ngala, Abadam, Nganzai and Damasak who have no functional and legitimate banking sector,. Except for the Point of Sale (PoS) services, there is no other access to money exchange by the business men and women operating in these areas. 

The case of Borno from the perspective of the country’s security network is entirely different. For someone to travel to Maiduguri, there must be military escorts, and that must definitely follow a careful extermination of the entire roads, so as to avoid Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) explosion while traveling. This happens everyday. 

Just in late November, 2022, a displaced businessman was escorted to his village by the military after hearing about the CBN’s naira changes. He was saving money at his farmland few days before Boko Haram attacked their village in 2014. Fortunately, he got the military escorts and retrieved his money up to about N700 million. 

This implies that local people like him are not used to saving money in the bank. Majority of the rural people keep their money at home. It’s only the international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) who opened bank accounts for IDPs to receive monthly allowances; only few could have opened an account by now. 

Thus, I appeal to the federal and state governments to synergise with the CBN and commercial banks to either rehabilitate the destroyed banks or open mobile banks in order to change naira notes for these rural people before the deadline. 

Rukaiyya Kodomi, 

Department of Mass Communication, Borno State University, 

Maiduguri


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