Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has directed banks to dispense new naira notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and banking halls or risk losing their lands to the state government.
Zulum gave the warning after visiting branches of banks in Maiduguri, the state capital, to assess problems being faced by residents trying to access new naira notes.
“Any bank in Borno State that is not willing to ensure their ATMs are fully dispensing new naira notes cash to ease the suffering of our people, we will withdraw their land title immediately. We will only spare Banks with genuine constraints that are verifiable” Zulum said.
Before that declaration, Zulum said he was unhappy when he saw hundreds of people queued at a bank’s branch, with only one out of 10 ATMs dispensing cash.
“As you can see here, only less privileged people are queued up. I didn’t see rich people here. Many people are said to be here since 3:00 am, some could not even eat anything. The new naira note and even the old ones are not available and that is adversely affecting commercial activities in the state and people are suffering” Zulum said as he sympathize with people in queues.
The Governor said further: “We just released salaries of about 5 billion naira and the banks don’t have money, some of the ATMs are not working. We don’t have any problem with the CBN policy or the withdrawal limit, they said individuals can only withdraw N20,000, but why can’t everyone have access to that N20,000?” he said.
“Yesterday I was in Gubio with a population of over 70,000 people but it was impossible to source N100,000 in the entire local government, neither of the new note nor the old notes. A ram that is worth N100,000 is now being sold for N35,000 because people are desperate for cash, and some wicked rich people are going to rural areas to exploit poor people” Zulum noted.
The Governor urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure the availability of new notes at commercial banks for people to access their money.
“Right now in Borno State, I have visited more than ten ATMs and there’s no cash” Zulum said.