Obaseki, CBN, PoS operators meet, strategise on cash disbursement across Edo
•Gov insists violence in Benin politically motivated •Directs free bus services to ease economic crunch
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, met with officials of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and members of Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN), in the state, to strategise on how to disburse cash to ease tension and ameliorate hardship faced by residents in accessing redesigned naira notes.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the governor said Wednesday’s protests and violence in Benin City, which led to destruction of properties in the metropolis, were sponsored by selfish politicians to cause crisis and disaffection.
Expressing displeasure over the sad incident, Obaseki said: “During electioneering, the practice of the opposition party is to create disaffection and cause trouble in the state. This happened during my own re-election campaign in 2020. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not the one that created the policy but our focus is on Edo people. The protest in the state on Wednesday was beyond anger but it was politically motivated.
“Security agencies are already working hard on arresting those involved in the destruction across Benin City. There is footage and those involved will be arrested and prosecuted.”
Obaseki noted that there are more money agents than bank branches in Edo State, urging the AMMBAN members to collaborate with government and CBN to address the situation.
“The PoS operators have a bad reputation, which must be corrected. If you have members charging customers above the normal price for their transactions, there should be an internal mechanism to deal with such issues. You must first regulate yourself and your association before you can help address this shortage of cash issue,” he said.
He charged CBN officials to fund more PoS operators with cash to help reduce the tension in the state over cash shortage, noting: “We would like the CBN to immediately fund more PoS operators as much as possible as they go into the markets with the necessary security to address the cash shortage since banks are not opened and they are the only banks available for now. Please, we want you to double the number of PoS operators to enable them address the issue.”
Urging residents to support and embrace Federal Government’s cashless policy, Obaseki said: “This is where Nigeria is headed. The push for a cashless economy has not been properly driven. As leaders, we must accept responsibilities and work hard to reduce the tension in the country.”
In his response, the Chairman of AMMBAN in Edo State, Mr. Osaro Ekhator, expressed appreciation to the governor for the meeting and assured him of the support of members of the association to bring a lasting solution to the current cash crisis.
The Controller of the Benin branch of the CBN, Renner Jumbo, also assured that the bank will release more cash to PoS operators to ease the pain and tension of customers in Edo State, adding that the banks have refused to open following the destruction of their properties.
He said: “The PoS operators are very important at this time around
Meanwhile, Obaseki, also yesterday, directed that, beginning February 16, all Edo City Transport Service (ECTS) buses are to provide free services to passengers to reduce the effect of the cash crunch experienced by the people.
This was contained in a statement by Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Media Projects to Governor Godwin Obaseki, and made available to newsmen.
According to him, the directive is applicable to all routes and is effective till Monday, February 20, after which further announcement would be issued on the matter.
The statement added: “The government calls on the people to remain calm and law-abiding and assures you that normalcy will be restored shortly.”