Nigerians should beware of counterfeit banknotes in circulation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned.
The apex bank said in a statement by its spokesperson and acting Director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Sidi Ali, on Friday that the most affected were especially higher denominations of the Naira notes used by some individuals for transactions in food markets and other commercial centres across major cities in the country.
For the avoidance of doubt, Ali drew attention to the provisions of Section 20(4) of the CBN Act (2007) as amended, which states that:
“It shall be an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years for any person to falsify, make or counterfeit any bank note or coin issued by the Bank, which is legal tender in Nigeria.”
The spokesperson said the CBN collaborated with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes and arrest and prosecute counterfeiters.
Members of the public, she said, were also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having counterfeit Naira notes to the nearest police station, a branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, or via [email protected].
Also, she urged all Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses, Bureau de Change, and the general public to be more vigilant and take all necessary precautionary measures to curb counterfeit notes’ acceptance and distribution.
Besides, he said the general public was encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading counterfeit banknotes.