The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says fake naira notes in circulation are less than one percent.
The CBN was reacting to statement credited to Obadiah Mailafia, an ex-deputy governor of the bank, who claimed that the rate of fake currency is 20 percent.
In a statement issued by Isaac Okoroafor, CBN spokesman, on Tuesday, the bank described the claim as “spurious and uniformed”.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to certain spurious and grossly uninformed claims suggesting that about 20 percent of the naira currency notes in circulation are counterfeited,” it said.
“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. 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%) or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.”
The CBN said it has always endeavored to use strong security features to make it difficult for dishonest persons to counterfeit the naira.
“In addition to that, we have carried out periodic massive nation-wide enlightenment of Nigerians on easy identification of fake banknotes and the reporting of such,” it said.
“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’.”
It challenged said its former official to make public the empirical evidence suggesting that 20 percent naira currency in circulation is fake.
“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 said.