CBN Says Counterfeit banknotes in circulation as naira scarcity persists

By Clement Alphonsus

The Central Bank of Nigeria, on Friday, disclosed that its attention had been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mrs Sidi Hakama, on Friday.

This development came as bank depositors expressed worries over cash shortage, both from Automated Teller Machines and over the counter in the banks.

Observations by a correspondent during visits to some banks and ATMs during the week disclosed that banks were rationing cash payments over the counter, while withdrawal limits were placed on ATMs.

For instance, a bank depositor, Chuks Daniel, noted that he visited three different banks in Owerri only to be given N50,000 at his third attempt. Another customer, Wura Adebayo, said she went to UBA bank but was allowed to withdraw only N50,000.

The CBN, in the latest development, said, “For the avoidance of doubt, Section 20(4) of the CBN Act (2007) as amended, states that: It shall be an offence 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 in constant collaboration with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake naira banknotes, 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, branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria or via [email protected].”

The banking regulator further advised all Deposit Money Banks, financial houses, Bureau de Change operators and the general public, to be more vigilant and take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes.

It said, “Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading counterfeit banknotes."