Long queues at banks in Lagos have disappeared following the injection of more banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into commercial banks.
The apex bank had on Thursday confirmed the evacuation of bank notes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of the banknotes of various denominations.
The bank also directed all commercial banks to open for operations on Saturdays and Sundays, adding that a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks.
The CBN had directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
Meanwhile, a correspondent who monitored some of the banks in the metropolis to check compliance reported that the long queues drastically reduced, not all bank ATMs were dispensed, and banks only paid customers who were account holders in their banks.
The banks visited along Ajao Estate Road in Oshodi–Isolo and Alimosho local government areas are Guarantee Trust Holding Company (GTCO), Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank, Zenith Bank, Firstbank, United Bank for Africa, Globus bank, Polaris Bank, and Union Bank.
Banks which paid their customers had limits to what they pay, which ranged from N5,000, N10,000 and N20,000.
Some banks paid N10,000 to their customers, N5,000 to non-customers and others only to bank customers.
An official at one of the banks, which pays N20,000 to its customers, told journalists that for a customer to be paid the amount, the person must put their BVN down with a thumbprint to ensure that they do not withdraw above the specified limit.
Ayotunde Dayo, a transporter, who expressed joy that the long queues were gone, urged the apex bank to supply banks with enough cash for everyone to access adequately.
“I use GTB, but because I heard Zenith was paying, I had to stop over to withdraw, but on getting here, I am told that I have no business being here because they only pay to their customers, and it’s N5,000. This is not good,’’ he said.
Paulina Ikechukwu, a secondary school teacher, urged the apex bank to ensure enough cash was moved to commercial banks and made accessible to everyone.
“The CBN should monitor the banks and ensure they comply; the typical Nigerian banks that I know would start well now and do something else in the coming days,’’ she said.
Balogun Shokunbi, a petty trader in Ajao Estate Market, however, blamed the scarcity of cash on the point of Sale (PoS) operators, saying they connived with bank officials and security men to empty cash from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
He urged the apex bank to monitor them and ensure they did not go to the banks at night to empty the cash in the ATMs.