BY FESTUS OKOROMADU
The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will sanction any commercial bank hoarding the new naira notes.
Speaking during a sensitisation exercise of traders at Wuse Market on the new naira notes in Abuja on Thursday, a representative of the Branch Controller of the of the apex bank in Abuja, 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 CBN, Benedict Maduagwu, said the new notes was to safeguard the nation’s currency from hoarding by individuals who stock naira in their houses.
He said: “The hoarding of bank notes 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, stressing 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, Baba Wawo, decried the non-availability of the new notes 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,” Wawo said.