The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Director of Legal Services, Mr. Kofo Salam-Alada, has stated that as the deadline to phase out the old naira notes approaches, the agency would be severe on banks that continue to load their ATMs with the notes.
He said that the CBN was already keeping an eye on banks that were using their ATMs to continue dispense outdated naira notes.Godwin Emefiele, the director who was the CBN Governor’s representative, spoke on Wednesday at a sensitization session about the new naira notes in Lagos’ Computer Village Market.
He said, “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.
“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.
“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.”
In response to concerns raised by market merchants about certain individuals selling the new notes, he said that anyone found selling the new notes or any naira denomination will face jail time. Timi Davies, president of the Coalition of Associations in Computer Village, commented on the new notes and said that they are a positive move.
He said, “But unfortunately, the new notes are not well circulated within our market. The ATM machines are not dispensing the new notes and only a few privileged ones seem to be having access to the new notes.
“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.”
The Olukosi of Ikeja Land, Chief Lateef Oluseyi, assured the CBN of the support of the traditional rulling house in educating the community. He dispelled rumours that the new naira was not durable. According to him, the new notes with more than 35 security features were not easy for counterfeiters to make.