There is a video currently trending on the internet. In the video, an unidentified woman was seen picking up wands of N2000 and N5000 notes which she claimed somebody brought to her branch to make a deposit.
According to her, she said the individual (which she didn’t name) brought up the cash amounting to N18,000,000 (eighteen million naira) to make a deposit. When he was apprehended, the individual started acting like a “mad man”.
It was impossible to get an official statement from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the issue as their official (and verified) twitter handle hasn’t made any tweet on the matter and the circular and press release section on their website hasn’t been updated as well.
Before we go ahead with the debate, let’s take a look at the history of the Nigerian currency:
On 11th February 1977, a new banknote with the value of twenty naira (₦20) was issued. It was the highest denomination introduced at the time as a result of the growth of the economy; the preference for cash transactions and the need for convenience.
The banknote was the first in Nigeria to bear the portrait of a prominent Nigerian citizen, the late Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed (1938-1976) who was the torch bearer of the Nigerian Revolution in July 1975. The note was issued on the 1st anniversary of his assassination as a fitting tribute to a most illustrious son of Nigeria. He was declared a national hero on 1st October 1978.
On 2nd July 1979, new currency banknotes of three denominations, namely ₦1, ₦5 and ₦10 were introduced. These notes were of the same size i.e. 151 X 78 mm as the ₦20 note issued on 11th February 1977. In order to facilitate identification, distinctive colours were used for the various denominations. The notes bore the portraits of three eminent Nigerians, who were declared national heroes on 1st October 1978. The engravings at the back of the notes reflected various cultural aspects of the country.
In April 1984, the colours of all the banknotes in circulation were changed with the exception of the 50 Kobo banknote to arrest the currency trafficking prevalent at the time. In 1991, the 50K and ₦1 were both coined.
In response to the expansion in economic activities and to facilitate an efficient payments system, the ₦100, ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1000 banknotes were introduced in December 1999, November 2000, April 2001 and October 2005 respectively.
On 28th February 2007, as part of the economic reforms, ₦20 was issued for the first time in a polymer substrate, while the ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes; as well as ₦1 and 50K coins were reissued in new designs, and the ₦2 coin was introduced.
On 30th September 2009 the redesigned ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes were converted to polymer substrate following the successful performance of the ₦20 (polymer) banknote. Thus, all lower denomination banknotes were now printed in the polymer substrate.
Finally, the CBN, as part of its contribution towards the celebration of the nation’s 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence and 100 years of its existence as a nation, issued the ₦50 Commemorative polymer banknote on 29th September 2010; and the N100 Commemorative banknote on 19th December 2014 respectively.
Before a new currency would be introduced, there is a procedure and one of the important steps is that the Federal Government through the CBN informs the populace of the development, the specimen designs would be released and an official date for launch would be announced.
Asides that the design of these said noted are poor, no announcement of such development has been made by the CBN, so it is safe to say those notes are fake.
The law enforcement agencies are therefore urged to bring the culprits that conspire to cause unrest and economic imbalance in the country to book.