This is indeed a hard time for Nigerian students. They are not only struggling with the high cost of transportation due to the fuel scarcity but also the unavailability of the redesigned naira notes.
The decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the deadline of the old naira notes scheduled for February 10 seem to has created tension among many students in Usen, a polytechnic community.
Even though, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said that over a billion naira has been disbursed to Edo State in a span of three days to cushion the hardship faced by customers in accessing redesigned naira notes, many Nigerians and POS outlets are struggling with the shortage of the redesigned new naira notes ahead of the new CBN deadline because of its unavailability.
At the various banks visited in Benin city and Okada, frustration and confusion describe the mood of Nigerians, especially students of Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, who have been trying to get cash from these banks as well as petrol in the past days.
Aside the challenges of shortage of the redesigned new naira notes, Usen residents and students have been facing with pro long petrol scarcity with the product which was initial sold for N300 per litre is now being sold for as high N500 in per litre.
The persistent rise in fuel price and the unavailability of the redesigned naira notes has affected feeding pattern of the students with inflation in price of goods and commodities and cost transportation within the community.
POS outlets at the Edo State Polytechnic school gate charges now more for every transaction. Complains from students revealed that in some cases, POS outlets charging #600 for withdrawing #3000. Some students who spoke to ESPUVOICE disclosed that the rate at which price of food items is at a high level occasioned by new naira notes shortage, fuel scarcity is becoming unbearable.
Choice Jude, a student of the department of Public Administration expressed shock over sudden hike of price of bag of sachet water. She said ”Imaging how the price of pure water increased overnight to #400 per bag just because the economy is hard. Seriously I don’t know what this country is turning into.
According to an HND student of Computer Science department, most POS outlets no longer accept old naira notes and even when they accept it as deposit, the charges are becoming high because of the poor circulation of the new naira notes.
”Today I went to one POS shop beside my lodge only for the POS attendant to inform me that to withdraw #5000, she will charge me #1000 because it’s new naira notes she’s giving me” the student revealed.
Another student said that small retail shops no longer accept the old naira notes and sometimes, she has to walk down to different nearby community before she could buy some of the basic needs.
Gift Oyesiji, another student of Computer Science department said the only naira notes with her is #1000 as she is afraid the old naira notes may expire with her since most POS outlets has refused to collect deposit with the old notes.
As Nigerians move to the streets in some states to protest their experiences at queues in banks and petrol stations, it is expected that the Nigerian government review the naira note policy to cushion the hardship faced by customers in accessing redesigned naira notes,