Nigeria’s banking public was yesterday thrown into confusion following a directive by commercial banks that their customers could deposit the old N1000 and N500 notes with them and a rebuttal by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that the information was fake and unauthorized.
Sources in the commercial banks confirmed to The Guardian that the apex bank had ordered money deposit banks to commence the acceptance of the old N1000 and N500 notes from customers upon the presentation of the print out of a form and code generated from a portal opened by the CBN.
“The maximum that we can receive from a customer between now and 10th of April is N500,000 and the customer can only deposit once within this period,” the source said.
An official email issued by one of the commercial banks to its customers yesterday morning also read: “Dear Valued Customer, This is to inform you that our branches shall receive old notes up to a maximum of N500,000 after registration on the CBN portal.
“Please note that deposits more than N500,000 should be taken to the nearest CBN location.
“In addition, our branches will be open tomorrow, Saturday 18 February 2023 to receive old notes. Thank you.”
However, the Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, in a terse press release in the evening, denied that the apex bank gave such authorization to commercial banks and asked members of the public to disregard it.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to some fake and unauthorized messages quoting the CBN as having authorized the Deposit Money Banks to collect the old N500 and N1,000 Banknotes. For the avoidance of doubt, and in line with Mr. President’s broadcast of February 16, 2023, the CBN has been directed to ONLY reissue and recirculate the old N200 banknotes and this is expected to circulate as legal tender for 60 days up to April 10, 2023. Members of the public should therefore disregard any message and/or information not formally released by the Central Bank of Nigeria on this subject.
“Media practitioners are advised to please verify any information from the correct sources before publication,” Nwanisobi said.
This was as protests against the apex bank’s cash swap policy spread across the country yesterday, over people’s inability to access their funds from commercial banks or deposit the old notes at CBN offices across the country.
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