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Kidnapping, Other Vices to Reduce With New Naira Notes, CBN Claims

kidnapping and ransom-taking have reduced since the roll-out of the redesigned naira notes on December 15, 2022.

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Enaira launching in Abuja - Investors King

Despite being on the hot seat to extend the deadline date for the exchange of old naira notes to new notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has claimed that the new naira notes reduce kidnapping and ransom payment in the country.

While briefing journalists on the resolutions of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) after presiding over its two-day meeting in Abuja, the CBN governor said “kidnapping and ransom-taking have reduced since the roll-out of the redesigned naira notes on December 15, 2022.”

Investors King understands that the phasing out of the old notes will make it difficult for kidnappers and ransom collectors to deposit a huge amount of money directly into their accounts and will make ransom asking difficult as the new notes are not fully in circulation in high amounts yet.

CBN’s claims are coming the day after the Senate asked them to extend its deadline date from January 31, 2023 to June 30, 2023.

On the Senate’s request, the CBN governor said the 100 days originally planned was enough for people to deposit their old naira notes into the banking system noting that the bank was making significant progress with the set deadline date.

“I do not have good news for those who want the date to be changed, N1.5 trillion of the old banknotes have been returned, hoping that it will get to N3 trillion this week.

“By last week we have seen about between N1.3 to N1.5 trillion in, we are hoping that as we get into this week, we will move closer to N3 trillion. If we get N3 trillion in and those who keep money decide to keep it at home, I am not going to force them to bring it out.”

Investors King reported yesterday that the House of Reps had summoned the commercial CEOs to explain the real situation surrounding the new naira notes and its availability.

The new naira notes were introduced into the economy on December 15, 2022.

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Banking Sector

Naira Scarcity: Sterling Bank Provides Free Transfer Services, Debit Cards to Customers

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New Naira notes

Sterling Bank Plc has announced the suspension of transfer charges for all its customers with personal accounts.

Investors King reports that the new generation bank’s announcement on free transfer services is to cushion the effect of the lingering naira scarcity in the country.  

The Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman, gave the notice through email to the bank customers.

According to him, the bank customers with personal accounts will enjoy free fund transfers from February 6, 2023 to February 18, 2023. 

Suleiman further said debit cards will be distributed to all interested customers for free.

The mail reads in part, “We at Sterling recognise the difficult circumstances many of our customers are going through. In light of this, from February 6, 2023, through February 18, 2023, our fund transfer services will be provided free of charge to all personal account customers.

“In addition, we are glad to inform you that we will provide free debit cards to all interested customers. This will provide you with a convenient and secure way to make purchases and carry out transactions.”

Explaining the reason for the offers, the Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Dante Martins said the bank intends to serve its customers better regardless of the current situation through digital means.

“We believe that by eliminating transaction costs for this period, we can assist our customers make their banking experience more easy by making the most of our powerful digital solutions. We want to make sure that we can serve them as best as we can during this time,” Martins said.

This is coming after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had busted millions of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank offices.

Investors King recalls that last Friday, the ICPC team monitoring the compliance of banks to CBN directives arrested the regional and service managers over the discovery of N258 million stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.

The stashed new naira notes found were said to be the remnants of what the CBN had given the bank for distribution to its branches but it only disbursed N5 million each to its branches.

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Banking Sector

CBN Directs Banks to Freeze of Pakistani Terror Financier’s Accounts

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Central Bank headquarters

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered the freeze of accounts related to Abdul Rehman Makki, a Pakistani linked to a terror group, Al-Qeada, by the United Nations Security Council.

In a circular signed by Harry Audu, Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, it stated that financial institutions should immediately comply with the new directive.

The directive by the apex bank ordered all financial institutions to screen their customer databases for possible business relations with the designated individual and file reports to the NFIU.

According to the bank, this is in line with the requirement of the provision of section 6 of the CBN AML/CFT Regulations, 2022 and section 4.3 of the CBN guidelines on targeted financial sanctions related to terrorism and terrorism financing 2022.

Similarly, the CBN ordered banks to update their sanction screening list to reflect the recent changes in the Noted Nations Security Council UNSC consolidated list.

The circular read in part, “the noted nations security council (UNSC) pursuant to paragraph 2 and 4 of resolution 2368 (2017) HAD ON January 16, 2023 listed Abdul Rehman Makki as being associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida and has accordingly been added to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanction list of individuals and entities that are subject to assets freeze, travel ban and arm embargo as set out in paragraph 1 of security council resolution 2610 (2021)”

Abdul Rehman Makki is identified as the head of LASHKAR-E-TAYYIBA (LET) political affairs by the UN. He served as head of LET’s foreign relations department and member of Shura (governing body). He is also a member of JUD’s Markazi (Central) Team and Daawati (proselytization) team. He is the brother-in-law of LET Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (QDi.263). Abdul Rehman Makki is wanted by the Indian Government.

Abdul Rehman Makki and other LET/JUD operatives have been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalizing youth to violence and planning attacks in India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Whilst Makki has held his leadership positions within LET and JUD, LET has been responsible for or had involvement in the following prominent attacks such as the ) Red Fort Attack, ii) Rampur Attack amongst others

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Finance

ICPC Nabs Three Banks’ Officials, Security Guards For Flouting CBN’s New Notes Directives

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Retail banking

More startling discoveries have continued to rattle Nigeria’s banking sector following scarcity of the new naira notes.

In some parts of the country, some senior officials of commercial banks have been arrested for hoarding the newly redesigned currency of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Following bitter complaints from Nigerians, especially bank customers over paucity of the new cash, the Federal Government has directed anti-graft agencies to swoop on those frustrating Nigerians.

This situation has led to chaos and long queues at banks across the country.

In order to tame the menace, CBN officials and security operatives have been monitoring conducts of commercial bank management in the manner they dispense cash.

Operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said they discovered N258 million stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.

According to a statement by ICPC, the discovery followed one of the commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive of cash hoarding.

Explaining how the operation went, ICPC said when its officials visited the bank and discovered the stashed new naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.

The monitoring team said it found out that only the sum of N5 million each was distributed to various branches of Sterling Bank.

Signed by the ICPC spokesman, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the statement further revealed that the regional and service managers of the bank were apprehended but later granted administrative bail while further investigation would be carried out on the matter.

Also, a security guard of one of the banks was arrested for contributing to the chaos within the bank premises.

The ICPC said it also nabbed the Head of Operations, Keystone Bank, Mararaba in Nasarawa State for frustrating its customers at getting the new naira notes by hoarding the currency.

According to the anti-graft team, while on its routine operation, it found out that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at the branch were not dispensing to its customers while other bank customers were accessing only N1000 despite being given all the denominations by the CBN.

After the unscheduled visit to the bank, the commission disclosed that the ATMs started dispensing N5000 to non-customers and N10000 to its customers.

The team also revealed that it arrested one Abdulkareem Shaibu, a Security Guard with Zenith Bank, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, as well as Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar.

While Shaibu, the security guard, was arrested for being in possession of five ATM cards which he was using to collect money for different unknown persons who were not within the bank premises at that time, Adam and Umar were arrested in front of Zenith Bank, 1st Avenue Gwarimpa, for selling the new naira notes.

Relatedly, two officials of FCMB Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, Osun State were apprehended for assaulting officers of ICPC and CBN Cash Swap Monitoring Team.

Investors King reports that these fresh arrests came as Nigerians continue to rage over the cash crisis ravaging the country for weeks now.

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