CBN to prosecute naira sellers, directs banks to issue new notes over counter

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to apprehend and bring to justice those who engage in the sale of the newly redesigned naira notes throughout the country.

This was disclosed in a statement by CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, on Thursday, February 2.

The apex bank said it has noticed an upward trend in the number of people stocking the new banknotes obtained from ATMs and unregistered persons swapping banknotes for members of the public across the country.

It warned that these actions are considered illegal and violate Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (as amended).

The section states that “spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both”.

Section 21(4) states that “It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.”

The CBN said it is collaborating with law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), to address the “unpatriotic behaviour”.



    It also warned Nigerians, especially those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals, to refrain from disrespecting the naira or risk facing arrest by law enforcement agencies.

    The statement noted the bank is committed to ensuring the effective distribution of the newly introduced naira banknotes and is working to address the issue of long lines at ATMs.

    The statement further disclosed that CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter, with a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.

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    The CBN also encourages members of the public to embrace alternative payment channels for their transactions. According to the apex bank, the naira is the legal tender and symbol of national pride in Nigeria and should be respected and handled with care.

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