The ongoing scarcity of the Nigerian naira note has created significant hardship for the population, particularly in the capital city of Abuja. Despite recent efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to alleviate the shortage, the problem persists, leading to prolonged queues, bank closures, and corrupt practices among bank staff.
SecretReporters investigated the issue, uncovering evidence of corruption among security personnel stationed at bank entrances. The staff members allegedly provide customers with numbers to hold their place in the queue but withhold numbers one through twenty, forcing early customers to purchase numbers from those willing to pay for access to the bank premises.
The investigation also revealed a blame game between banks and the CBN, with many Nigerians pointing fingers at their banks for the shortage, while the banks in turn accused the CBN. The government has asserted that all old naira notes that banks had retrieved were destroyed by the CBN. However, Governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has disputed this claim, stating that the government’s assertions are false.
The scarcity of the Naira note has also forced many Nigerians into relying on online transactions or Point of Sales (POS) transactions as a means of payment, creating room for fraudsters who specialize in fake credit alerts to defraud their victims. Perpetrating a false bank notification, commonly referred to as alert flashing, entails using a truncated messaging service that imitates a legitimate transaction notification from banks to defraud a target.
The root cause of the ongoing scarcity remains unclear, leaving Nigerians frustrated and uncertain about the future of their currency. While some have attributed the shortage to the 2023 general elections, claiming that the government is deliberately limiting the supply to curtail election spending, this claim has been debunked as the election has passed, yet the scarcity persists.
The ongoing scarcity raises questions of corruption and mismanagement, with many Nigerians left to wonder whether those in power are truly working in their best interests. As the government continues to grapple with the issue, it is essential to prioritize transparency and accountability to ensure that the Nigerian people receive the support they need and deserve.