According to reports, hawkers has sold the new Naira notes at parties, Tribuneonlineng can confirm.
Despite complaints that several bank branches had run out of the small quantities of the newly redesigned naira notes allocated to them from their head offices as early as 12 noon on Thursday, Sunday Tribune can authoritatively report that large wads of the new notes have saturated party venues with hawkers charging N200 on N1,000.
Sunday Tribune correspondents, who visited banking halls in several cities across the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja on Thursday and Friday, confirmed that there was limited supply of the redesigned notes as bank tellers mixed a few notes with the old ones for over the counter withdrawals while automated teller machines continued to dispense old bank notes.
Further findings revealed that several bank branches were yet to get their new note allocations with many bank officials informing our correspondents that the new notes were still being expected.
However, at a party in Ibadan, Oyo State on Saturday, a woman was seen freely hawking the newly redesigned wads of N200 bank notes unhindered.
However, officials at some of the bank branches which still had the new notes told Sunday Tribune that each cashier was given N100,000 of the new N1,000 for onward disbursement to customers seeking over-the-counter payments, and that they don’t have the other denominations of N500 and N200 yet.
Customers were also seen depositing the old bills over the counter, while cashiers were paying out more of the old naira notes at the bank branches.
However, there have been viral videos showing market women who rejected the newly redesigned naira notes, calling them “yahoo money.”
Although Sunday Tribune’s efforts to contact the spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Osita Nwanisiobi, on Saturday, was unsuccessful, the apex bank had earlier clarified on its website under currency management, that it is against the law to sell currency banknotes.
It added that while the CBN is responsible for the issuance of the Naira and kobo as stipulated in Sections 17, 18 and 19 of the CBN Act, it is the role of the Nigeria Police Force to work with the CBN and other security agencies in combating sales, counterfeiting and carry out sting operations to arrest, investigate and prosecute them accordingly.
Nwanisiobi had in the past clarified that the CBN cannot be everywhere but can only work in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to arrest and hand over for to the judiciary for prosecution.
“It is against the law for any individual or establishment outside the Central Bank of Nigeria, to print money or be in possession of counterfeit notes. Sections 20 and 21 of the CBN Act of 2017 reveal some of the abuse that could land Nigerians in Jail.
“If you are caught and convicted of a counterfeiting crime, you may face up to five (5) years imprisonment with no option of fine (Section 20).
“It is against the law to spray the Naira banknotes at occasions. It is against the law to write on banknotes and against the law to staple the banknotes as the pins can cause corrosion of the banknotes.
“A person who tampers with the Naira note or coin is guilty of an offence, punishable by law (CBN Act Section 21) and it is against the law to reject the Naira (Section 20 subsection 5) « the CBN stated on its website.”