As a result of currency racketeers taking advantage of Nigerians’ need to receive the new naira notes, the scarcity of the notes took a worse turn on Monday.

Black marketers were seen selling the new notes in the nation’s capital Abuja, Lagos, Anambra, and other states to people who couldn’t stay in line at ATM booths for hours on end.

In the Federal Capital Territory, Abdul Mohammed, a currency vendor, claimed that the inability of banks to deliver the new notes had raised demand for them.

“Normally, we offer discounts of N10,000 for N13, and N20,000 for N26,000.” I’ll give you any denominations you require. I have new naira notes for N200, N500, and N1,000, he said.

He agreed to let our correspondent know when the N600,000 fresh notes would be ready for pickup when asked if he could provide them.

He stated, “The new notes are very scarce and that is why we charge more. Getting the new notes is very tough and expensive for us. The issue of changing the notes has caused a lot of problems. There is high demand for it. I get the notes at very expensive rates too.

“It is also not available at banks because people are rushing to buy it there; we are not enjoying the business at this time.

The operator of a currency exchange, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the currency exchangers maintain a contact with bank employees but added that they do not pay for the currencies other than as incentives or when there is a spike in demand.

Currency exchangers basically form relationships with bank staff. If I need an amount, all I do is put a call through to my contact in the bank, ask for the availability of what I need, find out the buy rate, and buffer it by N5-N10 to resell.

“Most times, we don’t offer the bank staff anything. We just give incentives once in a while. Except there is high demand and limited supply, that’s when they can demand something. N50,000 mint (new notes), for example, could resell for about N53,000 or N60, 000, at most,’’ he said.