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BATTAFILES SPECIAL: Untold Stories Of Deaths, Neglect As Hospitals Reject Online Bank Transfer During Cash Crunch 

With the hope of getting a Point of Sale (POS) agent to get cash, a popular radio presenter with Ibadan-based, Fresh FM Nigeria, Baba Bintin, left his house trekking from Amuloko to Fresh FM at Challenge. 

After some kilometers, he slumped and died on his way to the radio station for his programme. His death was announced during a radio programme by the ace radio twins, Komolafe Olaiya and Olalomi Amole. Earlier during the day, the duo spoke about the unusual lateness of the presenter to the studio. 

SEE: Cash Crunch: The Brunt Of Executive Arrogance By Buhari, Emefiele

Like the presenter, Idi Bakwu, a widower and father of a two-week-old baby in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, narrated how his wife bled to death while he was away in a bank struggling for cash. 

He had traveled from Obume to Lafia, the state capital, in the hope of withdrawing money and getting a vehicle to convey his wife to the hospital, but he ended up spending the whole day in the bank without being able to get any money. In the process, his wife and nursing mother bled until she passed away, leaving her two-week-old baby behind.

Also, a pregnant woman in the northern Kaduna state died after her husband failed to get cash in time to pay for her to be admitted to a health centre. 


The cash crunch 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in late 2022, announced the decision to redesign some notes and replace the old ones in circulation by January 2023. 

But the poor circulation of the new notes created a shortage as old notes could no longer be used as legal tender. 

The scarcity of the new notes led the country’s supreme court to order an extension of the deadline for the use of old notes to 31st December 2023. 

The Nigerian government has, however, failed to effectively re-circulate the old notes and businesses are refusing to accept the old notes as legal tender. 

Meanwhile, banks are struggling to keep up with the demand for new notes, leaving many Nigerians who depend on cash transactions for their daily needs struggling.

Hospitals reject transfer 

Battabox investigations revealed that while the situation is worse in remote rural areas, where few people have access to bank accounts and mobile phone networks are poor, hospitals in urban areas rejected digital transfer during the cash crunch menace. 

Patients at different hospitals were left untreated in hospitals while family and friends struggled to gather cash for their treatment and some women have been forced to give birth at home after being turned away.

Munah Salam, said  her grandmother was feeling feverish and wanted to get a diagnosis in a clinic in Ibadan, Oyo State but the hospital cashier insisted on cash payment and refused his offer of paying through mobile banking. 

“My grandma wasn’t attended to till we got cash,” she said. Her treatment was delayed as her children went scouting for cash for hours even though she was ill and feverish.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association has encouraged healthcare providers to embrace digital payment to avert an escalating crisis in the future. 

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