Home Business Banking & Finance Fake Naira in circulation, CBN warns, as currency scarcity hits Abuja, Lagos

Fake Naira in circulation, CBN warns, as currency scarcity hits Abuja, Lagos

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned the public to be wary of counterfeit Naira notes in circulation amid reports of currency shortage.

In a statement titled ‘Beware of Counterfeit Naira Banknotes in Circulation’, the apex bank on Friday advised Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses, Bureau de Change, and the public to be vigilant and implement necessary precautions.

The CBN assured the public that it is working with law enforcement operatives to apprehend those responsible for circulating counterfeit currency.

The statement read: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes, significantly higher denominations, by some individuals for transactions in food markets and other commercial centers across major cities in the country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 20(4) of the CBN Act (2007) as amended, states that: ‘It shall be an offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years for any person to falsify, make or counterfeit any bank note or coin issued by the Bank which is legal tender in Nigeria’.

“The CBN is constantly collaborating with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes and arrest and prosecute counterfeiters. Members of the public are also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having counterfeit naira notes to the nearest police station or branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, all Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses and Bureau de Change and the general public are enjoined to be more vigilant and take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes”.

Some parts of the country, particularly the nation’s capital and Lagos have been experiencing paucity of Naira notes in the last few days in the midst of preparations for the Yuletide.

In Abuja, no fewer than seven commercial banks in the AYA area failed to dispense cash.

DAILY POST correspondent, who visited these Automated Teller Machine (ATMs) on Thursday evening, reports that he could not withdraw, and it has been the case for about a week.

Point of Sales (PoS) operators however lined up in their numbers in front of those banks to make brisk business.

One of the PoS operators, who identified himself as Samuel, lamented that the ATMs have not been dispensing cash as expected. He said that cash was only available at certain hours of the day.

“Since we entered December, these ATMs have not been dispensing as much. There is Naira scarcity and most likely it may be because we are approaching December, but only CBN can explain this new scarcity”, he said.

In Lagos, there have been cases of the Naira being rationalised by commercial banks to their customers.

This is coming amid last week’s directive by the CBN that both the old and the redesigned Naira notes remain legal tender.

Shortly before that statement, the Supreme Court granted the prayers of the Federal Government to lift the 31st December extension deadline for the usage of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

Responding to that ruling, the CBN said: “To avoid doubt, the Supreme Court ordered that the old versions of N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes, alongside the redesigned versions, shall continue to be legal tender.

“Accordingly, in line with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria will remain legal tender indefinitely”.

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