Naira scarcity forces Nigerians in border towns to adopt CFA
Residents of border communities in states like Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa and Kwara have opted for the CFA franc following the scarcity of the new naira notes across the country.
The CFA franc is the legal tender in eight West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union, otherwise known as the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine.
The residents, including traders and commercial drivers, are also rejecting the old naira notes, insisting that customers who do not have the new redesigned currency must pay for goods and services with CFAs.
It was gathered that bankers are selling new naira notes to Beninese and Nigerians are going there to exchange it with CFAs.
According to a resident, it is easier to get the CFA than the naira notes. That is why most people are accepting the CFA in exchange for our goods.
Many traders have been selling their commodities in CFA due to fear that they might not get the new naira notes.
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A cattle dealer, Musa Shehu, said he stopped receiving the Nigerian currency since the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the deadline for the swap of the N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.
He stated, “I have since stopped receiving the old naira notes because I don’t have an account and I can’t go to the bank.”
A trader in Shinkafi town, who shuttles between Nigeria and Niger Republic, explained that most of his customers paid with the CFA.
“I cannot collect old naira notes and give out my commodities to any customer. But I will collect new naira notes and CFA because I am afraid of losing my money if the time for the exchange expires,’’ the trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
A grain seller in Dada village in Zurmi Local Government, Muhammadu Isa, disclosed that he stopped selling grains in the Nigerian currency after the CBN’s policy on new naira notes was unveiled.
He said that he sold only to those who possessed CFAs to avoid losing money as ‘’my father did in 1983 when the naira notes were hurriedly changed by the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime.’’
The grain trader insisted that he would not accept the old naira notes as there was no bank or Point of Service terminal in his community where he could withdraw the new currencies.
READ ALSO: Naira scarcity: CBN begins clampdown on Banks, Naira hoarders at ‘Owambe parties,’ .
In a related development, commercial drivers who ply the Niger Republic from Zurmi and Shinkafi LGAs have also stopped collecting the old notes.
They justified their decision with the argument that the CFA was the only legal tender accepted by the people along the Nigeria-Niger borders.
A driver, Alhaji Hamisu, stated that passengers had to pay in CFA if they wanted to travel to the Niger Republic or return to Nigeria ‘’because the old naira notes are unacceptable as legal tender.’’
Also, border communities in Sokoto State preferred to sell their products in CFA due in part to the non-availability of the new notes and the continuous loss of naira value.
A businessman, Mallam Haruna Abdulazeez, stated, “I shifted my business to the Niger Republic when I realised I can’t cope with the economy of this country anymore.
“If I buy goods from Nigeria and take the same to Niger Republic, I make profits due to the value after the exchange.
Even if you take sachet water there, you will make your profits due to the exchange rate.”