The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday authorised deposit money banks (DMBs) to begin payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.
Emefiele also advised Nigerians to be patient, stating the central bank was working relentlessly to find solutions of the queue challenge at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) points nationwide.
This is coming on the heels of the federal government’s displeasure describing the experiences of the Nigerian citizens aiming to swap the old naira for the re-designed ones as regrettable and should be seen as a temporary sacrifice for the nation to achieve long-term economic sanity.
Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who stated this at a news briefing at the State House in Abuja, also said President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy about the situation.
Emefiele, in a statement by CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, the central bank governor stressed that the CBN remained committed to ensuring the effective distribution of the newly introduced naira banknotes nationwide.
He claimed that the central bank was aware of the long queues at ATMs across the nation and the rising trend in these cases.
Adding that for reasons best known to them, people were serially obtaining the newly introduced banknotes from the cash dispensing machines and stocking and aggregating them.
The CBN also voiced concern over incidents in which unregistered individuals and non-bank personnel were allegedly exchanging banknotes for members of the public on the CBN’s behalf.
The top bank also stated that it will penalize anyone found selling the newly redesigned banknotes as well as anyone found flagrantly abusing the legal tender by tossing wads of naira notes into the air and stamping on it at social gatherings.
Nwanisobi said, “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.
“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’”.