NAN-Alhaji Aliyu Nasir, Chairman, New Currency Note Hawkers Association, Dei-Dei, FCT, has said that hawking of new naira notes is legal, just like the Bureau De Change operators.
Nasir told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that any business being operated without a law backing it was assumed to be legal, unless proven otherwise.
“If there is any law that is meant to regulate, coordinate and monitor the daily affairs of Bureau De Change, the same law is applicable to us as we have virtually everything in common.
“The operators sell and buy currency notes, regardless which denomination, country and what have you. So likewise us; in fact we sell new naira notes only. So what is the difference?’’
A Master’s Degree holder from Bayero University, Kano, Nasir said the outfit was out to help those unemployed youths who could not secure jobs but had some money to invest.
On the source of the new notes, he said it was confidential, adding that “if you go to any bureau de change outfit, none of the sellers will disclose his master or where he sources his fund; so it is that way with us’’.
“We believe we are contributing to the growth of the nation’s economy by providing job opportunities, monetary transactions, developing human resources and increasing both national and FCT’s Internally Generated Revenue,’’ he said.
He called on youths to look for something to do to earn a living, adding that “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop”.
Ibrahim Auta, a hawker from Kafur Local government Area of Katsina State, said the hawkers bought N100 notes of N1,000 at N1,250 and sold it to buyers at N1,300, gaining N50 from every N1,000 sold out.
“Those who want to start the business must come and register with our superiors who will determine whether the person can be trusted after scrutiny.
“The new entrant has to get surety and at least some amount of money to start with as it is our superiors that go to town to get the new notes,’’ he said.
He said the hawkers were only interested in their own gain and the difference between their own and those who supplied the notes.
He said hawkers did not know the real suppliers of the notes to their masters.
Anas Sale, also a hawker, said his investment rose from N50,000 to over N80,000 in two years.
“It all depends on the market; we sell more during festivities, weddings, naming ceremonies and others including turbaning ceremonies.
“We are managing our capital; we also introduce others who are also making it according to their resources and the market,’’ he said.
On the high cost of buying the notes, he said it was not the hawkers’ making but they were being charged by their masters.
“Our own is not much as we collect only N50 while the suppliers collect N250. So you can see the difference,’’ he said.
A buyer on transit who preferred anonymity, said he had no option than to buy as he was heading to Minna for a friend’s wedding.
He said that he needed the new notes to spray during the wedding, adding that he tried to get new notes from a bank but was not lucky.
He urged the banks’ management to supply the notes to their customers, to discourage them from buying at high rates elsewhere.
Another buyer, who preferred anonymity, however, urged the government to arrest and prosecute both the buyers, sellers and bank workers engaged in the practice.