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How Nigeria’s Commercial Banks hoard New Naira Notes For Political Campaigns & are Secretly Paying Politicians

New Nigeria re-designed Naira notes.

Commercial banks are currently holding back new naira notes for political candidates’ campaigns while informing bank clients that there aren’t enough or any available.

According to a number of sources, politicians in Enugu State, for instance, have been given bundles of new naira notes that they distribute to their supporters at campaign rallies; in contrast, customers at banking halls are given old notes and informed there are no new naira notes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened commercial banks with fines if they continue to use outdated naira notes in its automated teller machines.

Following the introduction of new banknotes, the CBN set a deadline of January 31, 2023 for the issuance and circulation of the previous N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations of the nation’s currency.

In the weeks leading up to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) deadline for the usage of the old naira notes, SaharaReporters had observed that a cross-section of Nigerians across the nation had bemoaned the scarcity of new naira notes.

They criticized President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for spending a huge amount of money despite Nigerians’ objections to redesigning naira notes.

Central Bank of Nigeria.

The CBN dismissed rumors that there weren’t enough new notes in the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the midst of the rising demand for the new naira notes, claiming that the banks had plenty of new notes to circulate throughout the country before the deadline of January 31 when the old notes would stop being accepted as legal tender.

The CBN further clarified that it did not prohibit banks from handing out the new notes to customers over the counter, pointing out that the order to the banks to dispense the new notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATM) was intended to supplement hand-to-hand transactions and increase the circulation of the redesigned notes.

However, the Apex Bank Director of Currency Operations, Mr. Ahmed Umar, reiterated that the CBN had instructed the banks to load their ATMs with only new notes in order to ensure that the currency circulates throughout the country prior to the deadline of January 31 while speaking at the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Training Session for State Directors on Redesign of Currency Notes Policy on Monday in Abuja.

The same new banknotes are shared with supporters at various campaign rallies, despite the fact that banks in Enugu State, for example, virtually ever give out new notes to customers in the banking hall.

“The New banknotes in their system are earmarked for politicians’ campaigns,” according to a staff member of the New generation banks who asked to remain anonymous, adding, “that is why you don’t get New banknotes at the banking halls. Currently, if you withdraw, say, N10,000, we will pay you N2,000 in new banknotes and then give you N8,000 in older ones.”

A different bank source stated, “While there aren’t many new bank notes in our system, our managers at the Zonal and branch offices give politicians’ campaigns priority when issuing the new notes, which they do in the banking halls. So that is why it appears there’s scarcity of the new notes in the banks.”

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