The Central Bank of Nigeria has warned Nigerians to be wary of counterfeit naira notes in circulation amid reports of currency shortage in the country.
In a statement released on Friday titled ‘Beware of Counterfeit Naira Banknotes in Circulation,’ the apex bank advised Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses, Bureau de Change, and the public to be vigilant and implement necessary precautions.
The Central Bank assures the public that it is working with law enforcement operatives to apprehend those responsible for circulating counterfeit currency.
The statement, in part, said, “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes, significantly higher denominations, by some individuals for transactions in food markets and other commercial centers across major cities in the country.
“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 constantly collaborating with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes and 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 or branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, all Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses and Bureau de Change and the general public are enjoined to be more vigilant and take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes,” the statement reads.
The PUNCH reports that the Supreme Court recently ruled that the old Naira denominations of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes continue to co-exist with the new notes till further notice.
The court maintained that the old and new notes should remain as legal tender beyond December 31 until the Federal Government puts a process in place for their replacement or redesign after due consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The apex court had, on March 3, restrained the Central Bank of Nigeria from giving effect to the deadline on the use of old notes.
However, on November 14, the CBN extended the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes indefinitely