February 16, 2023

Nigeria Faces Cash Crisis Ahead of Elections

Cash shortages in Nigeria have caused fiery protests as the country struggles to smoothly switch over from old banknotes to newer ones.

Nigerians in the southern cities of Warri and Benin reportedly set fire to two commercial banks on Wednesday, 15 February, as they scrambled to get hold of the new banknotes. Further north, in the capital city, Ibadan, protestors also burned tyres and blocked streets.

Originally, the citizens were meant to have handed in their old notes by last Friday, 10 February, after which they were told the old notes would no longer be accepted as legal tender.

However, not enough new notes have been released to the public, leaving some to sleep in the streets as they wait for the desperately needed money to buy essential items. Some say they’ve been forced to skip meals, while others have reverted to working on a barter system to get by.

This morning, 16 February, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that he had given approval for the central bank to extend the deadline by 60 days, allowing the old currency to be used once more.

The situation may leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Nigerians, who are about to begin their presidential elections on Saturday, 25 February.

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