The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has ordered over the counter payment of new notes by commercial banks as a matter of urgency.
In a statement Thursday signed by the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Osita Nwanisobi, the Apex Bank says this is part of recent moves to cushion the sufferings of Nigerians struggling to get the new notes.
Since the CBN announced the extension of the deadline for Naira swap from 31 January to 6th February, scarcity of both old and new notes has thrown Bank customers into pandemonium.
But Nwanisobi said Emefiele has announced daily limits of withdrawal is N20, 000.
“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,”he said in the statement.
He insisted that though the Automated Teller Machines, ATM, is frustrating Bank customers, racketeers, who are adding to the problems will be prosecuted. According to the statement, the CBN is working with relevant agencies to achieve this.
“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,” it stated.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended) stipulates 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.’
“Similarly, 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.’”