IN SHORT: A shortage of cash has left Nigerians scrambling for alternatives. But the claim that some digital banks are being shut down is false.
Nigeria's central bank has ordered the closure of three digital banks, according to a claim circulating on Facebook in February 2023.
One version reads: "If you have money in OPAY, PALMPAY and KUDA move it immediately. CBN ordered that ther shld be shutdown with immediate effect."
CBN is the Central Bank of Nigeria, which regulates financial services.
Opay, Palmpay and Kuda are among the digital banks that many Nigerians have turned to after the central bank announced a cashless policy and the replacement of old naira banknotes with new, redesigned notes. The naira is Nigeria's currency.
The measures have led to a widespread shortage of cash, as there aren't enough new notes to meet demand. More than this, there have been reports of disruptions in the online banking services offered by traditional banks.
In some cities, protests and riots have erupted in response to the crisis. Digital banks may help ease it. But has the central bank really ordered that three of them be shut down?
'Don't be bothered by ridiculous rumours'
We could find no evidence of the order on CBN's website and verified Twitter account. And it hasn't been reported by any local media.
The three banks - Kuda Palmpay and Opay - have taken to social media to dismiss the claim.
"What shutdown? We're wide open for business. Don't be bothered by ridiculous rumours," Kuda tweeted on 17 February.
What shutdown? 😂 We're wide open for business. Don't be bothered by ridiculous rumours. 💜
-- Kuda App (@joinkuda) February 17, 2023
In press statements posted on Twitter and Instagram, Palmpay and Opay both described the claim as "false" and "misleading".
The claim is indeed false, and can only add to the chaos caused by the country's cash crisis.