Nigeria's President Buhari extends the use of old notes due to a shortage of naira

people standing in line

President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that the old 200 naira ($0.43; £0.36) notes will continue to be legal tender for another 60 days in an effort to ease tensions over a shortage of cash in Nigeria.

Violent protests have been occurring recently as people fought for newly designed banknotes.

It was supposed to be possible to turn in old cash as of last Friday.

However, there haven't been enough new notes printed, leaving many people short on cash to buy necessities.

Mr. Buhari has been urged to act ahead of the elections, which are scheduled for February 25, in order to keep the All Progressives Congress (APC) in power.

In a televised speech, Mr. Buhari attributed the challenges with implementing the new policy to "unscrupulous officials in the banking industry.".

Mr. Buhari expressed his deep sorrow and sincere sympathy for all of you regarding these unintended consequences.

The old 200 naira notes can still be used until April 10th, but Mr. Buhari stated that the old 500 and 1,000 naira notes could only be exchanged at the central bank and other authorized locations.

Long lines have formed at cash machines for Nigerians, with some sleeping outside banks in an effort to get money first.

In a nation where cash is still widely used, people claim they have been forced to skip meals and have been unable to pay for basic services like bus or taxi fares. According to estimates, 40% of people lack access to bank accounts.

A redesign of the currency, according to Mr. Buhari, is intended to combat inflation, illicit financial flow, as well as reduce insecurity, particularly the funding of "terrorism" and kidnapping for ransom.

Additionally, he made mention of worries that some politicians had accumulated large sums of money prior to the elections in an effort to buy votes and claimed that this scheme had been thwarted by the currency redesign.

Mr. Buhari urged voters to cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice in the general election.

After serving two terms, he is resigning. Bola Tinubu of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) are the front-runners in the race for the presidency, with Labour's Peter Obi being viewed as the wild card.

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