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Nigerian banks no longer have money to pay customers, says Afe Babalola

Legal luminary, Afe Babalola, on Monday decried the current dearth of cash in banks, stating that it kills faster than COVID-19, and calling for the federal government intervention.

“COVID-19 is regarded as a dangerous and dreaded epidemic which kills its victims but I dare say that cash crunch kills faster and certainly can kill more people than the pandemic,” Mr Babalola said in a statement issued on Monday in Ado-Ekiti.

The renowned lawyer said banks now lack cash, insisting that the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks have inflicted a cash crunch on customers across the country.

Mr Babalola, who is also the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) said “the cash crunch is being felt in virtually all parts of the country. Many banks have turned customers back for lack of funds, while those who gained entrance into the banking halls went home disappointed.

“Customers can not withdraw cash from the ATM machines in my university. The banks operating in the institution also have no cash to pay to customers.

“The saving grace is that the students who rely on ATM machines are on holiday,” he said.

The legal luminary said the nation’s economic growth was known to be basically trade-by-barter dependent, whereby traders exchanged goods for cash.

He said that presently, most Nigerians including market women, transporters, hawkers, vulcanizers, plumbers, roadside mechanics, and hair-dressers earned their living from daily sales. 

But Mr Babalola believes that this large portion of Nigerians suffers the cash crunch more than the wealthy ones in absence of sales through cash.

“The popular African adage is that “when hunger is eliminated from one’s problems, the remaining problems become easier to solve.

“A man without cash will certainly go without food; he becomes hungry. Of course, a hungry man becomes an angry man, and an angry man becomes violent,” he said.

The legal luminary further said that a violent man could kill, behave irrationally and even commit suicide.

Mr Babalola acknowledged the fact that cashless policy thrived in developed countries, adding, however, that much cash might not be in high demand in Nigeria because of the policy.

”Yes, it only works because their governments have created enabling environments for such technology to thrive.

“Even if the motive is to fully implement a cashless policy, then a robust change management policy must have been put in place in order not to inflict hardship on the masses,” he said.

(NAN)

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