Financial institutions that are stockpiling the new naira notes will face harsher punishments, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The threat was made by the apex bank on Wednesday, January 25; in response to the claim that not enough notes were released.
The assertion was refuted at a press conference in Jos, the Plateau state’s capital, by Musa Jimoh; the department’s director for payment system management.
Jimoh stated that the CBN had “massively delivered” the new notes to banks for use in both ATMs; and countertop dispensing.
“This is to enable quick circulation. We advise commercial banks to desist from keeping the cash away from the public or face the stiffer sanction,” he said.
According to Jimoh, the decision to redesign the naira is in line with the international convention, which states that currency notes should be updated every five years.
While reiterating that the deadline is still inviolable; the director recommended citizens deposit their old notes and collect new ones.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele announced on Tuesday that the January 31 deadline would not be extended at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja.
Meanwhile, the United States (US) Government, on Wednesday, January 25, declared that people involved in undermining the electoral process in Nigeria will be slapped with visa restrictions.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a tweet, said his country supports Nigeria’s democratic process and desire to uphold the rule of law.
“To support Nigeria’s upcoming elections; today I am announcing visa restrictions for those involved in undermining democracy in Nigeria.
“The United States supports Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy; and the rule of law,” Blinken said.
The US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria, in a statement shared on its website; said the visa restrictions are specific to “certain individuals;” and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria.
“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for; or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.
“Certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria; including in the lead-up to, during; and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy,” the statement read.