The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released cash to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of national and state elections on February 25 and March 11.
A source at the apex bank confirmed that the cash was released to INEC on yesterday following the assurances of CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu that cash will not be a constraint to the successful conduct of the elections.
He gave the assurances when the INEC boss called on the CBN governor pleading that “service providers, especially transporters, are required to be paid in cash and besides, experience has shown that emergency situations do arise on election day, which could demand the use of cash by the Commission”.
It was in response to this plea the source said, that the CBN released the undisclosed amount of cash to the Commission.
Also yesterday and despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that both old and new N200 notes circulate side-by-side, Abuja residents were shocked only the old notes were not in circulation.
All the banks visited in Abuja metropolis were only paying out N20,000 to their customers over the counter in mostly mutilated N200 notes.
The banks around the Federal Secretariat did not dispense cash from their ATMs because “the notes could not be loaded into the machines to be dispensed because of their poor state. Some customers were seen rejecting the mutilated notes right at the counter.
Early yesterday, there was confusion over the status of the redesigned banknotes.
Some bankers told their customers that the N500 and N1,000 notes will be back in circulation, but the CBN debunked the news as fake.
The CBN issued a statement signed by the Deputy Governor of Corporate Services Edward Adamu and the Director of Corporate Communications Osita Nwanisobi that “only N200 old notes are to be reissued and to circulate concurrently with the new notes”.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to a fake press release purported to have emanated from the Bank to the effect that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reissuance and release of old N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender in the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Central Bank of Nigeria reiterates that in line with the directives of Mr. President, only N200 old notes are to be reissued and to circulate concurrently with the new notes. Members of the public are therefore advised to ignore this fake news.
“The bank is working with the law enforcement agencies to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the purveyors of this fake news.”