How Nigeria’s Commercial Banks Are Hoarding New Naira Notes For Political Campaigns, Secretly Paying Politicians

Commercial banks are now reserving the new naira notes for politicians for their campaigns while bank customers are told there is shortage or no availability of the notes, checks by SaharaReporters have revealed.

Truetells Nigeria reports that politicians in Enugu State for instance have been issued bundles of new naira notes which they share to their supporters at the campaign rallies while at the banking halls, customers are given old notes and told there were no new naira notes.

SaharaReporters had reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned commercial banks to stop putting old naira notes in its Automated Teller Machines or face a penalty.

The CBN stipulated January 31, 2023, as the deadline for issuance and circulation of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations of the country’s currency following the introduction of new banknotes.

SaharaReporters had reported that with a few weeks to the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the use of the old naira notes, a cross-section of Nigerians across the country have lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes.

They lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for spending a huge amount of money on redesigning naira notes despite Nigerians’ objections.

Amid the rising demand for the new naira notes, the CBN dismissed speculations over the inadequacy of the new notes in the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), saying the banks had enough new notes to circulate across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline when old notes would cease to be a legal tender.

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The CBN also clarified that it did not ban the banks from paying customers the new notes over the counter, pointing out that the directive to the banks to dispense new notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATM) was to complement over-the-counter transactions and increase the circulation of the redesigned notes.

However, the Apex bank Director, Currency Operations, Mr Ahmed Umar, while speaking at the Training Session for State Directors, National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Redesign of Currency Notes Policy in Abuja on Monday, reiterated that CBN had directed the banks to load their ATMs with only new notes to ensure that the currency circulates across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline.


Meanwhile, checks by SaharaReporters revealed that in Enugu State for instance, banks hardly dispense new banknotes to customers at the banking hall but at various campaign rallies same new banknotes are being shared to supporters.

A staff of the new generation banks who preferred to remain anonymous told SaharaReporters that the New banknotes in their system are being reserved for politicians for their campaigns, adding “that is why you don’t get new banknotes at the banking halls. What we are doing now is that if you are withdrawing let say N10,000, we will pay you N2,000 new banknotes and then give N8,000 old notes.”

Another bank source said “actually there are limited new bank notes in our banking system but our managers at the Zonal and branch offices prioritise issuance of the new notes to politicians for their campaigns; they are issuing them at the banking halls. So that is why it appears there’s scarcity of the new notes in the banks.”


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