The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will sanction any commercial bank hoarding the new naira note just as the apex bank begins monitoring banks to identify defaulters.
Speaking during a sensitisation exercise at Wuse Market traders on new Naira notes in Abuja, Kareem Williams, a representative of CBN Abuja Branch Controller, Mr Michael Ogbu, said: “As of today, the CBN will be sanctioning any commercial bank that is not dispensing new notes to the public.
“We will be visiting commercial banks to ensure that they give out the new naira notes to the public to do their business. We will make sure that the new notes made available to banks are not diverted to politicians only.”
The apex bank also held the sensitisation exercise at the main market, Onitsha, Anambra State where the Branch Controller of Awka CBN, Anambra State, Mr Benedict Maduagwu, the bank’s new redesign was targeted at safeguarding the nation’s currency from hoarding by individuals who stock naira in their houses.
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He said, “The hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics, shows that 84.71 per cent of the currency in circulation is outside the vaults of commercial banks, with only 15.29 per cent in the central bank and commercial banks.”
At the Dawanau International Grains Market in Kano state, the Director of Currency Operation, CBN, A.B. Umar said the traces of ink produced when rubbed with plain white materials indicate the note is genuine and not fake; he added that the traces of intaglio ink indicate its authenticity.
Umar, who was represented by an official of the bank, Shamsuddin Zubair Imam, said any currency, even the US Dollar, is expected to produce the ink mark when rubbed on a white material as a sign of its authenticity.
“It is untrue that if you rub the new Naira notes and see the mark of the ink in the currency is fake. That ink mark is a sign of quality. It means it is genuine, not fake. That is the feature that shows a currency is genuine,” he said.
The Deputy Chairman of Dawanau International Grains Market, Alhaji Baba Wawo decried the non-availability of the new currency for the traders, adding that traders in the market, which is the biggest grains market in West Africa, find it difficult to access the redesigned N1000, N500 and N200 notes, even as the deadline is fast approaching.
“We call on the CBN to make the new currency available at banks and other financial institutions. We welcome the new policy but let it be easy for us to access the new Naira notes,” he said.
New Naira notes emerge in Lagos ATMs
In Lagos, Daily Trust has however, through a survey, observed an improvement in the number of ATMs that are loaded with the new notes from the situation it was earlier in the week.
While most ATMs on Lagos Island have started dispensing new N500 and N1000 notes, a good number of ATMs on Lagos Mainland are still dispensing the old notes.
A cross section of banks visited along the Ikeja-Ogba axis indicated that some ATMs were dispensing new notes while others were loaded with old notes. It was observed that a good number of the ATMs belonging to United Bank for Africa, Sterling Bank, First Bank, Fidelity Bank and Zenith Bank in Lagos Island, Ikeja and Surulere were loaded with new notes.
A jubilant customer, Daniel Ajayi, who got new notes at an ATM belonging to First Bank at Ogba, expressed surprise at the development.
“I was not expecting it but I’m happy that I have the new notes now,” he said.
There was an increased number of customers at some of the ATMs dispensing the new notes on ACME road, Ogba.
Two out of the four ATMs at Zenith Bank, Katangua near Abule-Egba, dispensed new N1,000 notes while the other two dispensed the old N1,000 notes as observed by our correspondent.
A top official with one of the deposit money banks assured our correspondent that in a matter of time, all ATMs will be loaded with the new notes.
“We have the new notes and with the directive from the CBN, I can assure you that it is a matter of time before all the ATMs are loaded with new notes,” he said.
Another source, however, said, there is no need to panic as the old N200, N500 and N1,000 are still legal tender till the January 31 deadline.
However, ATMs belonging to some commercial banks are still being loaded with old N500 and N1,000 notes despite the CBN directive.
By Sunday M. Ogwu (Abuja), Abiodun Alade (Lagos), Clement A. Oloyede (Kano) & Titus Eleweke (Awka)