Oil marketers have threatened to close their filling stations in protest against the rejection of old naira notes by deposit money banks across the country.
It was gathered that the banks issued circulars to some of the filling stations, urging them to stop accepting the old bills, as the DMBs would not collect them from marketers.
This followed the controversy about whether the Central Bank of Nigeria would phase out the old naira notes on February 10, as traders and other retailers also rejected the old currencies.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that many traders in the Federal Capital Territory, Ogun, and Lagos states had started rejecting the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes. The traders claimed that old notes collected from sales made were rejected by banks on Friday morning.
The development left many residents stranded with many having to find means to do bank transfers.
Explaining why some of the stations were rejecting the notes, the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, said, “There is a serious crisis now; bankers are not helping the system.
“They are passing circulars around now, asking filling stations not to collect old naira notes again. The bankers are saying filling stations should stop collecting old notes. And now, many of these filling stations are closing because where they make their deposits, the old notes are no longer permitted there.
“If this should continue, it is going to lead to a serious problem. They are asking us not to accept old notes because they won’t collect them from us. This is what is happening. So many of our members are now closing sales.”
He said some of these banks closed operations for the day before the expected time, stressing that Nigerians should not blame the filling stations for not selling products whenever they noticed the closure of retail outlets.
When reminded about the directive by the Federal Government that marketers should use point-of-sales machines and accept bank transfers, the IPMAN official said his members were willing to comply.
“Some of these bank transfers are usually reversed, while at times, the transferred money will not get to the receiver. These are the problems we face with the network providers.
“However, we’ve been taking the pains to see that we help the government in alleviating the plights of the masses. But if these banks are now telling filling stations that they are not going to collect the old notes, it is going to be a problem.
“So, it is better for the authorities to call these banks to order immediately, otherwise, by the time we shut down, it is going to create a massive problem nationwide,” Shuaibu added.
The spokesperson for the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks, Rasheed Bolarinwa, promised to reveal the position of the banks when he was contacted but had yet to do so as of the time of filing the interview.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said the Federal Government has taken bold actions to stop the ongoing petrol crises across the country.
Sylva, who gave the assurance after his tour of some selected petroleum dispensing outlets in Lagos on Friday, also assured Nigerians of massive distribution of the product.
“Fuel is everywhere, both in Lagos and Abuja. I visited many stations in Ikeja and on the mainland. From every indication, there are products everywhere and I want to assure you that the queues will disappear in a matter of days,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted him as saying.