* Says move aimed at stopping counterfeits, corruption, terrorist funding
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the change of the 1,000, 500 and 200 denomination of the naira are aimed at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man.
He specifically stated that the currency swap, which the nation’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), introduced four months ago, were targetted at individuals hoarding illicit funds and not ordinary citizens.
The move, the president stated, will stabilize and strengthen the economy.
Buhari, in a release issued on Saturday by his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, was reacting to reports of long queues of people waiting for hours for their turn to deposit old notes and get new ones, triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism.
According to him, the currency swap had also become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption and terrorist funding.
The president assured Nigerians that government will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end shortly.
While taking note that the poorest section of the society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, Buhari gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.
He reiterated that a number of initiatives by the CBN and all commercial banks are underway to speed up distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.