The Nigerian Railway Corporation has refused to sell tickets to passengers carrying old Naira notes.
According to reports, the early morning train to Ibadan on Friday was nearly disrupted by protests following the NRC’s initial refusal to collect old Naira notes.
When the early morning passengers became agitated and tension was brewing, the NRC was forced to accept old Naira notes and the early morning train was then allowed to leave for Ibadan in peace.
“However, this afternoon, we were directed not to collect the old Naira notes. The 4 pm train just left for Ibadan and about ten passengers couldn’t board because they didn’t have the new Naira notes.
“Why there was so much confusion with the morning train was because the numbers of passengers with old Naira notes far outweigh the number of those with new Naira notes. But this afternoon train that left around 4 pm didn’t experience such confusion because only ten passengers had old Naira notes with them.
“What will happen tomorrow morning is what we don’t know since we have been directed not to collect the old Naira notes.
“We have since suspended the collection of old Naira notes on the Lagos Mass Transit Trains. The decision to suspend collection of old Naira notes onboard the Lagos-Ibadan train just started yesterday afternoon,” an NRC worker who wouldn’t want her name in print said.
Speaking on the development, Eric Umezurike, Managing Director of First Fit Nigeria Limited and a train passenger, said that a Federal Government agency like the Nigerian Railway Corporation is better positioned to collect old naira notes and seamlessly exchange them with its sister agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to him; “if a government agency is rejecting old Naira notes at a period when the case is still pending in court, what would be the expectations from market women supermarkets and petrol attendants?”
Speaking to journalists at Mobolaji Johnson Station, some of the passengers who were unable to board the 4 p.m. train vowed to stage protests at the train station the next time they were denied access due to the issue of old Naira notes.
“We won’t take this lightly next time we come here. The train is a government property and belongs to all of us because they were built with taxpayers’ money. Even if the government collects loans to build the trains, the government is paying back those loans with taxpayers’ money.
“We won’t take it lightly next time we come here and they (NRC) refuse to allow us to board because of the old Naira notes issue,” some of the passengers lamented.
When contacted, NRC Lagos District Manager, Augustine Arisa said he couldn’t comment because he was in Papalanto, Ogun State, for routine checks on the railway station.
“I am not in Lagos now. I cannot confirm if it’s true we are not collecting the old Naira notes. I am in Papalanto, Ogun State for some routine maintenance work,” Arisa said.