Nigeria: New Naira Notes - Clerics Commend CBN, Charges Bank to Increase Awareness

22 January 2023

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been commended for taking measures to strengthen the value of the Naira, especially the recent redesigning of the higher-denominations of the banknotes.

The commendation came in from the administrator of Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral Rev. Fr. Nicholas Kizito Onyema yesterday when the apex bank took the nationwide sensitisation exercise on the new currency there.

"The sensitisation was very timely and very commendable. I think what they are doing is quite a good initiative at this point in time; at least to sensitise Nigerians on the need to return the old Naira notes to the banks," Fr Onyema stated yesterday.

He however urged the monetary authorities to extend the deadline for the old notes to cease to be recognised as legal tender beyond the January 31 date.

Muslim clerics in Lagos also charged the apex bank to increase awareness on the newly redesigned naira notes

The apex bank had earlier taken its sensitisation exercise to the Muslim community in Lagos.

The Lagos Central Mosque executive council however, urged the apex bank to increase public awareness on its policies.

Continuing, Fr Onyema said "the time is very short and am afraid there could be a backlash." He said the time should be extended to accommodate more people, and for maxim result.

Like other Pastors at the Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Lokogoma area of the FCT, the Catholic priest promised the support of the church on awareness creation on the new notes.

Earlier, the managing director of NIRSAL microfinance bank Dr. Abdullahi Abubakar Kure explained the rationale behind the redesigning of the banknotes and other money control initiatives of the CBN.

Mr Hamidu said with the new notes, the bank has been able to overcome counterfeiting of the currency notes and hoarding, among other benefits.

Earlier in the day, CBN urged Nigerians not to wait till January 31,2023 to turn in old notes for new re-designed currency. The bank insists that January 31st,2023 deadline for old notes to ceased being legal tender is sacrosanct.

The apex bank urged market traders, business operators and Nigerians to embrace various cashless channel outlets to return old currency notes in their possession, and make use of same of same cashless transaction channels as preference for cash transaction.

Addressing traders at Garki modern market in continuation of CBN's sensitisation of Nigerians on the new naira notes and cashless policy, Kuru said "You all observed this sensitization excercise by the CBN has been on going. It's a two leg excercise. One of it is to tell you to return your old notes in your custody for new re-designed currency between now and 31st January,2023.

"At the expiration of the deadline, your old notes are useless. The second leg of the excercise is enlighten on cashless policy. Endeavor to use all the cashless transaction points such as POS, internet enabled banking, USSD for your transactions.

"We have enough stock of new notes and we have asked CBN to come and pick and load them into their ATM", Dr. Kure admonished Garki market traders."

CBN, has in recent times, increased its sensitisation as the January 31, 2023 deadline set after which the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes will cease to be legal tender.

A team from the CBN led by deputy directors, Seyi Badmus and Mohammed-Jamiu Solaja had visited the Lagos Central Mosque during the last Friday Jumaat prayers.

Receiving the CBN delegation on behalf of the Chief Imam, the vice chairman, Lagos Central Mosque Executive Council, Bashorun Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy, lauded the apex for extending the sensitisation to the mosques.

He also urged the bank to further enhance the awareness campaign nationwide, adding that, "there should be more orientation. The CBN should continuously do orientations to everyone on their policies so that we know what is going on."

"Also, there should be more awareness on the policy that concerns abusing the naira such as spaying and mishandling. I must also commend the CBN for their cashless policy because for a long time now I don't go to the bank so more people should be sensitized more often," he said.

Mohammed-Jamiu Solaja, in his remarks, stressed the need to deposit their old notes and embrace the new notes. Speaking on the reason for the redesigning of the higher denominations of the currency, Solaja said: "out of over N3.2 trillion, we have over N2.7 trillion that was not in the banking system.

"This gave us a lot of challenges which also has to do with the integrity of our naira which is our national symbol. Also, there was the issue of dirty notes and the third one has to do with counterfeiting and it being used for criminal activities.

"So, we had a lot of cash in the hand of so many people which is why we needed to proffer a solution to by coming up with the redesign of the naira. It is an international best practice for any central bank to redesign their currency between every five to eight years and the last time we redesigned was 20 years ago which has made the issue of counterfeiting easy."

He appealed to the Imam and his congregation to accept the redesigned notes as well as deposit their old notes with barely 10 days to the deadline that would phase out the old note.

Solaja said: "people should access this currency and embrace it. The CBN has agreed that by January 31 the old note would be phaseout and it is sacrosanct. So, our Muslim brothers and sisters should take advantage of the window to deposit their old notes and there is no limit to the amount you can deposit."

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