Following the recent introduction of the cashless policy by the federal government in Nigeria which almost crippled economic activities across the country in this period of 2023 general election.
A policy that has brought unbearable hardships to many citizens of the country especially Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and other downtroden members of the public.
An investigation to assess the impact of the cashless policy and naira notes change on PWDs and other vulnerable groups conducted by INN correspondent revealed some traumatizing narratives and experience of PWDs.
Commenting on the effect of the new cashless policy on PWDs, a Deaf graduate of economics, an indigene of Gombe State Musa Jauro Julde disclosed that the motive behind the new cashless policy and naira notes change by the Federal government according to economic perspective is to crush the lingering effect of inflation on the country’s economy.
Julde said, “although the federal government’s intention to introduce the new policy was aimed at reducing inflation in the nation, the Central Bank of Nigeria had failed to make it stand clearer to Nigerians, hence the reason for the sufferings people are subjected to”
” I have experienced a lot of challenges trying to make cash withdrawal in Kano, the situation is the same here in Gombe. If we were well informed, we will have prepare well and won’t have to suffer that much'”
According to Julde, “the country is not ripe for the cashless policy, streessing that more people especially the PWDs and rural dwellers who are mostly illiterate need to be enlightened and educated enough before embarking on such advanced capitalist policy”
“Our banks are too weak to support cashless policy, especially as millions of Nigerians have no active bank account” he added.
On his part, a physically challenged member of JONAPWD Adamawa state chapter who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent a heartbreaking story on his journey through the cashless policy era.
He said, “as a PWD and one who doesn’t have account with any bank. I am deeply frustrated with this new naira notes change”
“No body is helping me to swap the old notes with me and I don’t know what sin I committed to warrant such treatment?” he lamented.
Another Deaf from Gombe state, Umaru Adamu Shinga, disclosed how his entire household sleep for days without food due to the crushing effect of the cashless policy of the FG.
His words, “we have spent days without food at home and have to beg for food in the neighborhood, it is something I have never experienced before, but this wicked APC government doesn’t care about our plights”
For Abubakar Umar GBS, a Deaf Right Advocate from Hadejia, Jigawa state who took to his social media handle (facebook) he themed “CBN’ s wrong Timed Cashless Policy: My Bitter Experience” to air his grievances about the FG’s cashless policy which according to him started on one Saturday morning on his way to attend a training in Dutse, Jigawa state capital.
His words” on Saturday 18/2/2023 being our training day for Civil Society Situation Room Election Observers that took place in Dutse, I left my room at exactly 7am and rushed to Hadejia old Motorpark”
“Without a delay, I got a car that is traveling to Dutse and got seated. After waiting couple of minutes for other passengers to fill the bus before the car took off, the conductor asked for transport fare. I said I wanted to make a bank transfer”
“I was surprised when the conductor said they don’t have an account to receive the money despite the situation we are in because of the cashless policy of the FG. I desperately brought out the last N2,000 new notes from my pocket, gave him and collected my change of N600 unsure of how I can afford to come back in such a situation”
The Jigawa-based Deaf Rights Advocate disclosed how he suffered even more in his effort to return home after the training.
He wrote” At the end of the training, I immediately left the venue with a desperate face looking for where to get cash. I went to where banks were located (in Dutse) but all banks were closed and no single person standing near Automatic Teller Machines of all banks except CBN which is open only to collect old notes”
“With a tired body and a desperate mind, I just went straight to Dutse modern Motorpark. On arrival, a car traveling to Hadejia was almost full and just waiting for one more passenger. On seeing me, they asked me to enter and I told the driver that I didn’t have cash and wanted to make a bank transfer. The driver said he doesn’t accept transfers, i begged him and the conductor but they both seemed not to care which made me move aside and wait for another bus”
“Few minutes later, a car carrying bags of rice in its boot arrived. We gathered and begged the driver. The driver after refusing, finally agreed and gave us someone’s account number and asked us to gather the money in the account of one of us and send it to him in one transfer. I was the first to successfully transfer the money because I was using an OPAY account which has good network at the moment.
“In addition to the time we wasted begging them, we had to wait till they confirm receipt of payment before we took off. The person whose account we gathered the money was using UBA Bank trying to make the transfer using USSD code. When he couldn’t, they all begged me to send N5,000 to the account given to us by the driver if I have it in my account so he will refund my money.
“To avoid arriving late during this unsecured time, I agreed and made the transfer. The driver started the car. While on our way, the driver claimed that he didn’t receive the alert and asked me to check my balance. I showed them the receipt and everyone saw it including the driver. We continued the journey till when we arrived at Kafin Hausa, the driver stopped and insisted that they must receive transaction alert before he can continue. He gave me phone number of the person whom the account belongs to and I sent the receipt via WhatsApp.
“He read it and asked that we copy the transaction alert (SMS) and send to him. What if someone manipulated the text and send him? I said Opay doesn’t send me SMS alert, rather email and Application notifications which i showed to all including the driver. He then agreed and continued till we reached Hadejia. He stopped again at Kwanar jama’are for the same issue. We all insisted that they check their bank account balance.
“The driver took us to bus stops, have us dropped out and we thanked him.
“The next day (Sunday), I received almost 10 missed calls from the person whose account the driver gave us. I texted him and asked what is it he wanted and he replied I have to pay the money so he will stop calling me. I said I already paid, sent him receipt in the presence of the driver who brought us and my fellow passengers all saw it. If there’s any dispute, remember he needs a ‘bank statement’ to support his claim.”