Stampede occurs as Nigerians tackle CBN deadline on new cash swap
Nigerians, from all parts of the country, will enter this weekend agitated and confused over the currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
While banks remain open to receive old notes till Tuesday, January 31, scarcity of new naira notes and rejection of the old notes, beginning from today, by retailers and many sales outlets, is driving the citizenry into panic mode as the deadline stares them in the face while still having large amounts of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.
Few days before the deadline, the exercise had led to chaos, as well as over-stretching bank workers due to the breakdown of counting machines in many of the branches.
Findings showed that the breakdown of the counting machines due to heavy pressure has resulted in bank tellers now counting monies in bulk manually, making many customers wait long hours on the queue before being attended to.
According to The Guardian, it was gathered that not only are bank workers overstretched, the health implications of counting mutilated notes manually remain a concern. National President of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFIE), Anthony Abakpa, who said the situation has not been brought to the union’s attention, called for compensation for the categories of staff, especially the bulk tellers and the notes counting officers at the end of the exercise.
He called on employers and management of banks to ensure that workers’ safety were more paramount, by giving them all the necessary gadgets and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like nose masks and hand gloves to protect their fingers from germs.
This was similarly echoed by the National President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Olusoji Oluwole, who cited the stress and health implications on workers.