“No bank should refuse to collect the old naira notes until the deadline of 31st January 2023,” an official said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday vowed to sanction any commercial bank found hoarding the new naira notes.
The CBN Kano Branch Controller, Umar Biu, made the disclosure during a sensitisation programme on the new naira notes organised for traders at the Sabon Gari market in Kano.
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“You have the right to report any bank found hoarding the new naira notes or refusing to collect your old naira notes before the 31st January 2023 deadline,” Mr Biu said,
“No bank should refuse to collect the old naira notes until the deadline of 31st January 2023.”
The sensitisation programme was extended to Kwari Market, Wapa Bureau De Change Market, Kofar Wambam market and the popular Kurmi market, Kano.
Earlier on Wednesday, CBN’s Director of the Legal Services Department, Kofo Salam-Alada, disclosed that the CBN is already monitoring banks that are still dispensing old naira notes from their ATMs.
Mr Salam-Alada who made this known during a sensitisation program on the new naira notes in Lagos urged banks to switch to the new notes immediately.
“I can tell you today that the CBN on a daily basis issues new notes. As we speak, banks are with the CBN taking money. We are actually begging banks to come and take money from the Central Bank. We have these new naira notes in our vaults and we are begging banks to come and take them,” he said.
In October last year, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the plan to redesign Nigeria’s N200, N500 and N1,000 notes. He said the new notes would go into circulation in December while residents are expected to change all old notes by January 31.
The move to replace old notes generated heated debates among Nigerians. While some public commentators questioned the rationale behind the policy, many have called for an extension of the deadline.
Meanwhile, many ATMs and cash points across the country are still dispensing and transacting with the old notes due to the scarcity of new notes among Nigerians.
Mr Salam-Alada said the CBN already identified some developments that could affect the circulation of the new notes.
“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.
“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 said anyone caught selling the new notes or any denomination of the naira would be jailed.
On his part, the President of the Coalition of Associations in Computer Village, Lagos, Timi Davies, noted that the new naira notes are a good initiative.
“But unfortunately, the new notes are not well circulated within our market. The ATMs are not dispensing the new notes and only a few privileged ones seem to be having access to the new notes,” he said.
“We want to encourage the CBN and the government to enforce the deadline on the banks. There should be no bank that should not be giving the new naira from their ATMs. All ATMs should load the new notes. As we are giving the old notes, we should be able to get the new notes. If the ATMs are not dispensing, the new notes will not flow around.”
Similarly, the Olukosi of Ikeja Land, Lateef Oluseyi, assured the CBN of the support of the traditional rulers in sensitising the community about the new notes. The monarch also dispelled rumours that the new naira note was not durable.