By Mustapha Yauri
In spite of scarcity of the redesigned Naira notes in circulation, some smart alecs have been seen hawking the new notes at Dadi Motor Park, Sabon Gari-Zaria, Kaduna State, at exorbitant prices.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) saw large wads of different denominations of the notes on display at the entrance of Dadi Motor Park, Kwangila area of Zaria city for prospective buyers.
A check by NAN reveals that a bundle of N200 notes was going for N30,000; N500 notes are being sold at N70,000 and N1,000 notes is sold at N130,000, while N100 is sold at N16,000.
Mr Mohammed Bello, a new cash hawker, said they paid between N70,000 to N130,000 to obtain new N500,000 notes, depending on the denominations of the notes.
However, Bello declined to disclose the sources of the money and encumbrances.
Mr Thomas Damina, a resident of Gozaki village in Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State, who patronised the mints vendors, confirmed to NAN that he bought the new N20,000 of N1000 notes at N25,000.
He said he was forced to purchase the money at the exorbitant price to enable him settle the labourers working at his dry season farm.
“Traders in my community (Gozaki) are rejecting the old notes and the money is not available at the banks. I have no option than to buy from cash hawkers,” Damina said.
NAN also observed that trading in the new Naira notes was receiving patronage as customers thronged the banks, rushing to beat the Jan. 31 deadline.
Most ATMs of some commercial banks at PZ, the commercial hub of the ancient Zaria city, were not dispensing cash when NAN visited.
Trading in Naira notes is in contravention of Section 21 of the CBN Act, 2007, which is punishable under Section 21 Subsection 4 of the Act.
In spite the laws prohibiting hawking of Naira notes and coins, the perpetrators were freely doing their businesses close to the police out post at Kwangila, Sabon Gari Zaria.
Reacting to the development, DSP Mohammed Jalige, the Police Public Relations Officer, Kaduna State police command, assured that the police would swing into action against the crime.