Millions of Nigerians face financial misery this Christmas as a severe nationwide cash shortage leaves ATMs empty and banks strictly restrict withdrawals.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) warned the government on Tuesday that citizens are running out of patience with the rapidly deteriorating situation. NLC President Joe Ajaero threatened mass protests if the cash crisis persisted, citing serious implications for ordinary Nigerians.
With the CBN introducing fresh banknotes, accusations swirl regarding officials hoarding newly minted naira. However, most experts blame the apex bank’s disastrous currency redesign policies earlier this year.
“Nigerians spend more time desperately seeking cash, not because money isn’t in their accounts, but because CBN incompetence denies them access,” Ajaero vented.
The cash drought worsens daily, as evidenced by more ATMs running dry. Abuja banks are capping over-the-counter withdrawals to manage high demand and meagre supply.
CBN claims sufficient naira exists, despite circulating rumours of parties stashing away ill-gotten cash. But to the NLC, this further indicts the government’s floundering anti-corruption fight.
The NLC said forcing citizens to “buy” their own money or rely on exploitative POS charges to access paltry funds amounts to gross insensitivity and “double jeopardy.”
With Christmas fast approaching, Nigeria faces a holiday overshadowed by financial frustrations rather than joy. Ordinary citizens continue to bear the brunt of policies eroding spending power and livelihoods.
NLC implored the apex bank to inject liquidity rapidly and restore confidence in banking riled by inefficient CBN handling of currency. Nigerians need action guaranteeing easy access to cash, not more excuses.