New Notes: CBN Set to Arrest Naira Hawkers

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By Olusegun Obisanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to arrest persons selling the new naira notes, as it begs banks to come collect the redesigned currencies.

During a sensitisation programme recently, the Head of Legal Department of the Central Bank, Kofo Salam-Alada, said naira hawkers caught will be jailed.

He made this known while revealing banks have not been coming for the new naira notes. Salam-Alada revealed that the currency is not scarce, as it is readily available at the CBN.

Salam-Alada’s statement comes as the deadline to phase out the old naira notes nears.

“I can tell you today that the CBN on daily basis issue out the new notes. As we speak, banks are with the CBN taking money. We are actually begging banks to come and take money from Central Bank. We have these new naira notes in our vaults and we are begging banks to come and take it,” the CBN top official said.

According to him, banks have been instructed to prioritise the Auto Teller Machine (ATM), to prevent the lenders from making the banknotes only available to public figures.

He said that prompted the central bank to halt withdrawal of the redesigned naira notes over the counter, as the ATM doesn’t distinguish people.

It was alleged that politicians are mopping up new naira notes in Nigerian banks, a move that the central bank frowns on.

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“We found out that a lot of things are happening that we need to checkmate, so we stopped withdrawal of new notes over the counter to ensure that everyone can have access to it and not one chief who is known to the manager, walks in, and carts away all the new notes in a particular branch.

“That is why we said it should be in the ATMs which cannot distinguish people,” the head of the CBN Legal department said.

He also reiterated the commitment of the financial regulator to monitor banks to ensure they load their ATMs with the new currencies that includes N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

“We also have monitors going around banks now. I have been to some ATMs this morning and I have done the reports.

“We are not mobilising the masses against the banks because the banks are there to serve you, but be rest assured that they will serve you now that they know that the CBN is on them to serve you with the new naira notes,” he told people at the sensitisation programme.

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