Naira Scarcity: CBN threatens to prosecute sellers, abusers of new naira notes

February 2, 2023
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The Central Bank of Nigeria has finally reacted to the challenges faced by Nigerians amid the gradual circulation of the new naira notes.

In a statement disclosed issued Thursday and seen by Nairametrics, the apex bank said it has observed, with grave concern, the activities of persons who are selling the newly redesigned banknotes and those who flagrantly abuse the legal tender at social gatherings. 

Prosecution of naira abusers: The CBN further warned that it will soon come down hard on those abusing the naira. The statement said the CBN will collaborate with 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 practice. Part of the statement said:

  • “We have equally noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.  
  • “We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever. 
  • spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both.
  • “We, therefore, warn Nigerians, particularly those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings and funerals, to desist from disrespecting the Naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.”

Advice for Nigerians: The apex bank urged Nigerians to exercise patience as the CBN is working assiduously to address the challenge of queues at ATMs.  

  • “In line with this resolve, the Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned Naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000. We also admonish members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions.”

In case you missed it: Nairametrics reported earlier that there is an increasing slowdown in person-to-person and person-to-business transactions across Nigeria due to the scarcity of cash, according to a cross-section of P.O.S operators, traders, and experts interviewed by Nairametrics. 

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