I enjoy my tea with bread every morning. It is a habit that has been with me for many years. I feel like the sun has not risen until I indulge in this morning ritual. I went to the village market this morning to buy fresh bread. The first indication that something is not right is that the road was nearly empty. I checked my mind to find out if I have missed the day of the week. Perhaps, it is a Sunday and it skipped me. It is Friday.
I arrived at the market that is regular with buzzing business in the morning. Most stalls are closed. I was not daunted. The market has been scanty of late since the naira change started. I proceeded to the area where vendors arrive on buses in the morning to sell bread. I noticed that my customer was not around. I take it that he did not come because he had told me that the naira change is affecting his business. His workers are not coming to the bakery because of the scarcity of both the old and new naira notes. They do not have money for transportation or to eat.
Anyway, I chose to patronize one of the few vendors at the location. I prefer the bread the vendor sells after that of my customer. This is a popular vendor. On a normal business day, customers stand in line to buy her bread. I made a remark that her front is quiet. She responded that I can see for myself what the naira change is doing to her business. I assumed that she was selling her bread with the redesigned naira notes. I told her that I have the new naira note and that I hope she will give me change with the same. She said that I have to count the number of customers that have paid her with the new notes.
Surprised that she is accepting the old naira notes, I told her that today is the last day the government said that they will be accepted for business transactions. A lady standing by to buy bread budged into the conversation and told her that the date has been changed. She said that the government extended the use of old naira notes till July or maybe June. I corrected her that what she said was not true. She said that she does not care.
People are frustrated and confused that the banks are not giving out the new naira notes. There is not sufficient money in circulation. I decided not to buy bread this morning because the vendor does not have the new money to give me for change. I do not want to accept the old naira notes and have to suffer the pain of returning them to the bank or be stuck with them. The stress in society is immense. People were hungry and could not go about their normal business. Even those that have money in the bank cannot access it. I pray for families to support one another to overcome this failure of government.