Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the January 31 deadline for the phasing out of the old notes.
The apex bank, which announced the new N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations on October 26, 2022, has maintained that the deadline will not be extended.
The newly designed notes were later unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, 2022.
The CBN also announced new cash withdrawal limits for individuals and corporate entities, which it later increased to N500,000 and N5 million, respectively.
However, Governor Buni has urged the apex bank to give a special concession and alternatives to Yobe residents for the change of the naira notes.
The governor, who was represented at a press conference on Sunday, by his spokesman, Mamman Mohammed, said the appeal became necessary due to the lack of banking services in most parts of the state.
According to him, “only four out of the 17 local government areas in the state have banks, making it difficult for people in the remaining 13 local government areas to access banking services.”
“Some of the banks with branches in the local government areas closed the branches at the peak of the Boko Haram security challenge but are yet to reopen in spite of the improved security in the state”.
“The CBN should be considerate to provide special services to such areas with special needs to avoid making them victims and losing their money.”
“The CBN and commercial banks should as a matter of urgent public interests deploy alternative services at their disposal to salvage the situation.”
The governor also urged the CBN to ensure that commercial banks open branches in the local government council headquarters now that there is improved peace and security across the state.
Buni noted that the improved security in Yobe and the North-East generally makes it conducive for the banks to resume operations and open new branches in the local government council headquarters and other towns.
He further expressed concerns that until something urgent is done, many people may fall victims of failing to change to the new notes.