How we are surviving naira notes scarcity – Sokoto state beggars recount ordeals

According to a report by SaharaReporters, the destitute in Sokoto State have also cried out over the naira notes scarcity. The beggars, who rely on begging for survival have lamented how the Naira redesign policy has impacted their business line. Visits by SaharaReporters to various joints where these beggars always assembled show that most of them have been stranded and complained of low patronage.

An impoverished woman seen in Sokoto’s Hajia Halima Market told SaharaReporters that she had hardly seen anyone to donate cash to her because of the scarcity of Naira notes, which has been devastating to Nigerians in recent times. “The problem is that people are struggling to get cash to give us and that is why we (the beggars) will sit down for days without anybody giving us money. “Many days, I slept without food with my children,” the mother of three lamented.

Since time immemorial, assistance to beggars in major Nigerian cities has always been in lower Naira denominations, so the beggars were always supplied with such funds. However, the cash crunch caused by the Nigerian Central Bank’s Naira swap policy has made circulation and spending of naira notes appear difficult. The Nigerian Central Bank, CBN had earlier set the deadline for the old N200, N500 and N1000 for January 31, 2023 but due to the scarcity of the new naira notes and its attendant effects on the economy, the apex bank extended the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes for newly designed ones till February 10.

Another destitute, while commenting on the possibility of him and his colleague embracing the cashless policy in their lane of business, described it as something impossible because of their level of education.

He said, “This is not possible because we believe only educated people can do this and not even all of us have bank accounts.” In a similar account, SaharaReporters had also reported how residents of some communities and markets in the Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State abandoned the Nigerian currency for CFA franc because of the shortage of New Naira Notes.

A resident of Sabon-Gari, a town in Illela of Local Government Area, identified as Yusuf Sani revealed to SaharaReporters that he had changed all his Naira notes to CFA because of the difficulty in getting New Naira Notes in the region.

Investigations showed that Illela, a border town with the Niger Republic and of about 105 kilometres from Sokoto, capital city of Sokoto State, now has most of its traders and residents trading, selling and buying in CFA franc.

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