Less than one per cent of Naira notes are fake – CBN

Naira notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said that the amount of counterfeit notes in Nigeria from January to December 2016 was less than one per cent of the total.

The CBN made this known in reaction to claims by a former deputy governor of the apex bank, Obadia Mailafia, that 20 per cent of the currency circulating nationwide is fake.

While speaking at the public hearing on the 2017 budget at the National Assembly on Monday, Mr. Mailafia had said that 20
per cent of the currency circulating in the country is fake.

“Twenty percent of currency circulating in Nigeria is fake; you can’t bring down food prices if you have fake currency circulating,” the former CBN boss had said.

But in a statement released, Tuesday, by Isaac Okorafor, CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, the apex bank refuted the claims, noting that the less than one per cent rate represents 0.0014 per cent or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.

“While we acknowledge that no currency in the world is immune from counterfeiting, we make bold to state that the rate of counterfeiting in Nigeria has been very minimal due to appropriate policies put in place by the Bank,” the CBN said.

“Indeed, our records at the Bank clearly indicate that the prevalence of counterfeit notes in Nigeria from January to December 2016 was LESS THAN ONE PER CENT (0.0014 per cent) or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.”

Central bank of Nigeria
Central bank of Nigeria

The apex bank added that in line with its core value of proactivity, it has always endeavoured to use strong security features to make it difficult for dishonest persons to counterfeit the currency, adding that it has also carried out periodic massive nation-wide enlightenment of Nigerians on easy identification of fake banknotes and the reporting of such.

“We therefore find it rather curious that a former high ranking official of the CBN would make such bogus and unauthentic claims apparently calculated to destroy confidence in our national currency and sabotage the collaborative efforts of the CBN and the Federal Government at ensuring enduring stability of the financial system.

“The unfortunate implication of the fabricated claim of the said former official of the Bank, is that it gives the false impression that two bills out of every ten Naira pieces held by an individual is ‘fake’.”

The CBN, the statement said, therefore, challenged Mr. Mailafia to present empirical evidences to the public in support of his claims, noting that the CBN frowns at attempt to counterfeit the naira.

“We therefore challenge the said former CBN official to make public the empirical evidence suggesting that 20 per cent Naira currency in circulation is fake,” the spokesperson said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN frowns strongly at attempts to counterfeit the Naira. We remain committed to safeguarding the value of the Naira by ensuring that our Naira banknotes are not susceptible to counterfeiting.

“We also work constantly with relevant security agencies to monitor and check the activities of counterfeiters.”

The bank, however, called on Nigerians to disregard the claims and report suspected cases of counterfeiting to the appropriate quarters.

“Members of the public are therefore advised to disregard the false alarm raised by the said former CBN official, be wary of the activities of counterfeiters and report any case of counterfeiting to the police and their banks,” it said.


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  • kayode Olufade

    20% is kind of high but the man knows the CBN don’t have data to back their own claims too.

    • Rumournaire

      How do you know that CBN does not have data? When counterfeit notes are discovered – typically by a bank (when people try to lodge them into bank accounts), they are normally reported and the report goes to CBN. So, how can you say CBN does not have data? How did Obadia Mailafia come about his 20%? So if CBN does not have data, it is Obadia that has it?

      • kayode Olufade

        How I know the CBN doesnt have the requisite data is because what they have is only what is captured in banks and not what is in circulation. No nation can give you a definite figure just only generalizations based on what banks capture. And that isnt a standard to fall back on becausen it doesnt give a true situation, it isn’t even the beginning of it because not all monies in circulation is banked and that is the fact counterfeiters bank on. As for the gentleman with the claims of 20%, my statement alluded to the fact that he doesn’t have data hence the ‘too’ in my statement.

        • Rumournaire

          I agree with you completely. I object to the man’s claim because he seems to be one of those always ready to make the worst and unverified claims about Nigeria, just to run down the country’s image. If he didn’t have the data, why should he throw up any figure at all? By the way, it is widely known that the most counterfeited currency in the world is the United States Dollar.