The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised an alarm concerning the proliferation of counterfeit banknotes, particularly in higher denominations.
A statement from the CBN signed by Mrs Sidi Ali, Hakama Ag director of corporate communications, said the fake bank notes are being utilised in transactions within food markets and commercial hubs across major cities nationwide.
In a bid to address this issue, the CBN has warned all Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses, Bureau de Change, and the public at large to heighten vigilance and implement necessary precautionary measures to stem the acceptance and circulation of counterfeit currency.
To underscore the seriousness of the matter, the apex bank drew attention to Section 20(4) of the CBN Act (2007), as amended, which stipulates stringent penalties, including imprisonment for no less than five years, for individuals found guilty of falsifying, making, or circulating any banknote or coin issued by the CBN as legal tender in Nigeria.
The CBN said it remains actively engaged in collaborative efforts with pertinent security and financial agencies to seize counterfeit Naira notes, apprehend perpetrators, and ensure legal prosecution.
To mitigate the risk associated with counterfeit banknotes, the general public has been advised to adopt alternative payment modes such as e-channels for their day-to-day transactions.
Furthermore, the public is encouraged to promptly report any suspected cases of counterfeit currency possession to the nearest police station, local branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, or via email@example.com.