The United Kingdom, through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has issued safety advisories to its citizens in Nigeria and those travelling into Nigeria following the Central Bank of Nigeria naira redesign policy.
In its updated advisories on Wednesday, the country urged its citizens in Nigeria and those travelling into the country to take extra precautions around banks and Automated Teller Machines.
This is as the United Kingdom government also informed her citizens of the coming general elections in Nigeria, warning them of possible pockets of violence in some parts of the country.
The updated advisories read, “Around 117,000 British tourists visit Nigeria every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but a small number of British people encounter problems. You should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.
“Nationwide elections will take place in Nigeria on 25 February and 11 March 2023. Movement restrictions may be enforced during this period, especially on election days, and there is a heightened risk of protests and violence. See more information under ‘Protests and Demonstrations’.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed the redesign and issue of new N200, N500 and N1’000 Naira notes. This has led to shortages of cash, which are likely to persist for a period. You are encouraged to check notes provided by currency exchange vendors will be valid for the duration of your travel to Nigeria, and to follow local CBN guidelines.
“Areas such as banks and ATMs have seen a spike in criminal activity, and as such, it is advised that you take extra precautions, particularly when withdrawing cash in crowded spaces, and during nighttime hours.
“There have been outbreaks of violence in South West Nigeria as a result of cash shortages, and there is a risk of other urban areas being impacted across the country.
We advise travellers in Nigeria to exercise their judgement, including being aware of any large crowds or potential disturbances.”
The PUNCH reports that the growing anger over the cash crisis resulting from CBN currency redesign policy boiled over on Wednesday as protesting customers torched banks and destroyed ATM in Edo and Delta states.
The violence, which paralysed social and economic activities in the two states, also claimed three lives while many others were injured during the riot.
The protests equally spread to Oyo, Ondo, Benue and Kwara states as residents vented their anger over the scarcity of cash which had made life unbearable for many Nigerians.
Meanwhile, during a Thursday morning statewide broadcast, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said that the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes are no longer legal tender in the country.
He, however, said the old N200 note would be legal tender for the next 60 days, till April 10, 2023, while beseigning Nigerians to deposit their old N500 and 1000 notes with the CBN.
“To further ease the supply pressures, particularly to our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be legal tender.
“In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points. I admonish every citizen to strive harder to make their deposits by taking advantage of the platforms and windows being provided by the CBN,” Buhari said.