CBN confirms fake naira notes in circulation

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday, December 8, confirmed that fake naira notes were circulating nationwide, alerting the public to beware of their transactions.

The apex bank raised the alarm in a statement titled, ‘Beware of Counterfeit Naira Banknotes in Circulation,’ and signed by its acting director of Corporate Communications, Sidi Hakama.

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

Quoting  Section 20(4) of the CBN Act (2007) as amended, the apex bank said, “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],” CBN said.

The ICIR reported that the apex bank introduced new naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 to phase out the old denominations but that the masses widely criticised the redesign policy.

    Most Nigerians believed the new notes unveiled by former President Muhammadu Buhari and embattled former CBN governor Godwin Emefiele in November 2022 into circulation only changed colours but retained their old features.

    Buhari and the former CBN governor had argued that the new notes were fortified with security features that made them difficult to counterfeit and that it would be difficult to produce counterfeits of the newly redesigned banknotes, but most Nigerians doubted them.

    However, about one year later, the apex bank was already worried and urging the deposit money banks, financial houses, bureau de change, and the general public to be more vigilant and take the necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes.

    “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,” CBN added.

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