Commercial banks have started collecting the old N500 and N1,000 naira notes from their customers.
The development comes despite the rebuttal of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that it did not direct banks to collect the old naira notes from citizens.
Meanwhile, in contradiction to the apex bank’s position, checks by TheCable showed that the cash return portal of the CBN directed people with old N500 and old N1,000 notes below N500,000 to go to their bank to make the deposit.
To ascertain the state of things, TheCable visited banks in different parts of Lagos on Saturday.
Long queues were seen in front of banks as customers attempted to gain access into the banking halls.
At Access Bank in Megida bus stop, Ayobo, a bank official was calling out the names of customers from a sheet of paper.
Once a customer’s name is called, he/she is allowed to proceed into the bank.
The bank official said they would stop attending to customers by 2pm.
Meanwhile, some customers outside the bank lamented that they were unable to generate a reference number from the CBN portal.
“I have been here since 10am. This is almost 2pm. The CBN portal is saying validation error. I can’t generate the reference code so I can’t go in,” a customer, simply identified as John, told TheCable.
At branches of Access Bank and First Bank in Iyana Ipaja, customers were allowed to deposit their old notes.
Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) branches in Ikorodu and Airport Road were also attending to customers.
At a Sterling Bank branch in Ikorodu, TheCable observed that only those who have generated the CBN reference number were being allowed in.
A security officer at a United Bank for Africa (UBA) branch in the area said the bank has stopped attending to people for the day.
“We will open again on Monday,” he said.
At the time of visit (2pm), a small group of customers at a Access Bank branch in Ikorodu were waiting to get attended to under a canopy outside the bank.
“They opened in the morning to collect the notes. But now they’ve closed,” a customer said.
Another customer said they were waiting to see if the bank workers would allow them in or tell them when to come back.
TheCable observed most of the customers were trying to generate the CBN reference number on their phones — a prerequisite for entering the bank.