By Bukar Umar
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 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.
The directive is coming on the heels of business grinding to a halt over the scarcity of the redesigned notes, haven deposited old notes with the commercial banks.
According to the statement by the Director of Corporate Communication, Osita Nwanisobi said the CBN observed, with grave concern, the activities of persons who sell the newly redesigned banknotes and those who flagrantly abuse the legal tender by hurling wads of Naira notes in the air and
stamping on the currency at social functions.
“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. “
The statement quited Section 21(4) which 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.”
Nwanisobi said, the CBN is collaborating 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.
The CBN reiterated its commitment to Nigerians to ensure the effective
distribution of the newly introduced Naira banknotes, urging them to exercise
patience as the CBN is working assiduously to address the challenge of queues at ATMs.
He warned 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.
He also admonish members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment
channels for their transactions.