The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, warned banks and Nigerians to be wary of counterfeit bank notes, particularly greater denominations that are already being used in food markets and other commercial hubs across the country.
Falsifying, making, or counterfeiting any bank note or coin issued by the CBN is a felony punishable by jail, according to the Apex Bank.
CBN made the announcement in a statement signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali, Hakama, Acting Director, Corporate Communications on Thursday.
The apex bank said, “The attention of the CBN has been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes, especially higher denominations, by some individuals for transactions in food markets and other commercial centers across major cities in the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 20(4) of the CBN Act (2007), as amended, states that it shall be an offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years for any person to falsify, make, or counterfeit any bank note or coin issued by the bank that is legal tender in Nigeria.
“The CBN is in constant collaboration with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes and arrest and prosecute counterfeiters.
“Members of the public are also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having counterfeit naira notes to the nearest police station, and branch of the CBN.
“Meanwhile, all deposit money banks, financial houses, the Bureau de Change, and the general public are enjoined to be more vigilant and take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes.
“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, such as e-channels, for day-to-day transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading counterfeit banknotes.”