The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that the policy of the redesigned new naira notes was not targeted at any politician or political parties but in the interest of the nation.
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday during his campaign rally in Abeokuta, Ogun alleged that the new naira notes policy was an act of sabotage against his ambition.
The Director of Finance in CBN, Benjamin Fakunle who spoke during the apex bank’s sensitisation event and old notes swap in Ilawe-Ekiti, Ekiti South West local government area of Ekiti state, explained that the January 31 deadline for the old notes would not be extended, adding that the policy was not to scuttle the 2023 general election.
He explained that the policy of the new naira notes for N200, N500 and N1,000 was conceptualised to control the amount of money in circulation and as well address the increasing kidnapping for ransom in the country.
Fakunle who advised the people to embrace the policy by exchanging their old naira notes with the new notes in commercial banks, noted that the cashless policy of the CBN would in no small measure improve the economy of the country.
He said, “Let me put it on record that we are not targeting anybody. The last time that Nigeria redesigned notes was more than nine years ago and this is something that we normally do in a period of between five and seven years; so, nobody is being targeted.
“You will see that by the time these new notes are in circulation and we go cashless, you will find out that the incidents of kidnapping and other crimes will come to an end because there will be no monies to pay for ransom. Beyond that, we would be sure that the amount of money that is in circulation is within the vault of the CBN.
“The policy is not target at anybody. We are just doing our work the way it is, within the mandate of the law and within the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
On the allegations of hoarding and non-availability of the new notes in banks in the state, the Director of Finance explained that banks have been instructed not dispense old notes in their Automated Teller Machines, saying officials of the apex bank were monitoring to punish defaulting banks.
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“There is no bank as at today in the whole of Ekiti State that is dispensing old currency notes. I have been monitoring, I have gone round most of the banks and there is no bank that is dispensing old notes.
” We have given banks the instruction that they should not pay old currency notes from their ATMs. Any bank that does that now, once we have evidence, we will penalise the bank. We have mandated all banks and we have given all banks enough redesigned notes to put into their ATMs. That is the current situation and we are not looking at any extension of the deadline slated for January 31.
“Tuesday next week is the last day for the old notes. Part of the efforts to be sure that date is sacrosanct is why we are here in Ilawe-Ekiti. We are even going to the hinterlands where people are unbanked and we are facing the masses.
“This policy is for the masses, we want the masses to get the redesigned notes as and when they require. Everybody that is literate is supposed to be able to do transfer for any services rendered to him or her. In actual sense of it, our actual target is to go cashless in Nigeria and that is our mandate and we will make sure that is done,” he said.
The Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Ajibade Alabi commended the CBN for the swapping initiative in the community, adding that the Local Government Area had been without a commercial bank in the last three years due to robbery.