As the shocking dollar scarcity worsens in Nigeria, parents who have children schooling abroad have taken their frustrations to banks, with some of them weeping openly due to their desperate situation.The frustrations by some parents who cannot access forex to send to their children abroad have brought out their emotional sides, while affected students have been crying out for help in foreign lands.
When PUNCH visited some banks along Muritala Muhammed Way, Unity Road and Taiwo Road in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Wednesday and Thursday, some bank customers, who were there to buy dollars, expressed disappointments at the scarcity of the currency.
One of the customers, Alhaja Salamatu Ajibola, who broke down in tears, lamented that the education of her two children schooling in the United States had been threatened by the development.
She added that her children had been going without food due to her inability to send them money for their upkeep. Ajibola said that it had been difficult for her to send her children dollars for their personal and educational needs. She said she had visited banks several times, hoping to send dollars to her children, only to be told that the currency was insufficient to meet customers’ demands.
Another tearful parent, who spoke to PUNCH on the condition of anonymity, in a first generation bank in Bauchi, said it had become impossible for him to meet the needs of his children schooling abroad.
“Our children abroad are crying and we parents are also crying,” he said.
“They are confused and we are also confused because we can’t send money to them and they can’t receive. They are in misery, hunger and depression. They can’t even feed well because they can’t get money for their upkeep.”
The Alhaja appealed to government to “create escape route so that children will not continue to suffer.”
Also, Mr. Jimoh Abdulganiyu, whose son is studying medicine in Ukraine, said he could not get dollars, even at the black market, to send to him.
Abdulganiyu said his son was given a warning letter by the school authorities over delay in payment of his accommodation fees and he risks being asked to vacate the dormitory soon.
He expressed fears of the possibility of buying fake dollars because of the pressure of getting dollars, which has been pushing parents to the parallel market.
He said, “Sometimes, I would get to the bank by 6.40am, before the official opening hour, to stand a good chance of getting dollars through the Western Union or Money Gram.
“And this does not mean that I would automatically get the dollars, I still have to lobby before I could get it. Even at that, there is a limit to the amount I can get.”
When PUNCH visited two commercial banks in the Sabo, Yaba area of Lagos on Thursday, it was observed that there were no dollars for sale. Sabo is a black market hub for forex activities in Lagos.
There, a 65-year-old man, Obafemi Solomon, who also expressed frustration with the situation, struggled to fight back tears as he narrated his ordeal.
He said, “What I am doing right now is to beg my friends who are in the US to help me pay for my daughter’s tuition. It does not make any sense to change naira for dollars and send to her. There is even no dollar to buy.”
Virtually everywhere, the situation is the same. People are crying, the situation is becoming desperate.