Ahead of the deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy, suspected Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, members have reportedly distributed some huge sums of old naira notes to commuters in the Lake Chad Basin.
The incident occurred after Mairari village, along the Maiduguri/Monguno highway on Saturday in the Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State, Daily Trust reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 23, 2022, unveiled redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 notes and the CBN immediately fixed January 31 as the date for the expiration of the old notes.
On Sunday, the apex bank extended the deadline for the swap of the old naira notes at commercial banks by 10 days.
The naira redesign is believed to be targeted at stopping vote buying in the 2023 general election scheduled for February 25 and March 11.
Some ISWAP members who were said to have driven two gun trucks and dressed in military camouflage on Saturday distributed huge amounts of the old notes to scores of commuters.
A resident of the area, Bakura Ibrahim, said the insurgents positioned themselves under a tree and stood by the roadside with bags of old naira notes.
“We left Monguno at about 12 noon. As we approached Mairari, there were no existing checkpoints in the area; we were apprehensive.
“They stopped us and asked if we were going to Maiduguri, then they started giving each person 100,000 old naira notes, but we could not believe it. They gave each occupant of the Golf Volkswagen,” Bakura said.
Another source added, “The group simply told us, “If you think you can go to their banks and change it to new naira, go and do so; may Allah make it beneficial to you.”