…Approve N20,000 daily OTC payouts …Say ATM queues to vanish soon

From Uche Usim, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other security agencies, have agreed to smash and prosecute all naira vendors and abusers caught selling or spraying the notes at social gatherings, thus robbing the public who genuinely desire the currency for legitimate transactions access to them.

CBN Spokesman, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, who made the disclosure in a statement, said the idea of hurling wads of naira notes in the air and stamping on the currency at social functions were totally unacceptable.

“We have equally noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and 

aggregating the newly-introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN. 

“We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency 

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under any circumstance whatsoever. 

“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended) stipulates that “spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and 

shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both.”

Similarly, Section 21(4) states that “It shall also be an offense punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in 

the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank”, he explained.

In dealing with the new naira scarcity nightmare, Nwanisobi stated that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the  redesigned naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.

He urged the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions as the cashless policy project seeks to deepen financial inclusion among other benefits for the economy.