Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has threatened to impose severe sanctions against any bank hoarding the new currency notes.
The apex bank also said that commercial banks which failed to collect their allocations of the new currency notes or flout the directives on their distribution would be sanctioned.
Mr Osita Nwanisiobi, Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, who gave the warning Thursday at Aba during sensitization of Aba traders on the new Naira notes, said that the CBN would not take it lightly with anyone sabotaging the policy.
He reiterated that the January 31 deadline for the use of the old currency notes as legal tender was sacrosanct, adding that anyone who failed to deposit the old currencies would no longer be able to do so after the deadline.
The CBN image maker explained that the new policy, contrary to speculations, was not targeted at anybody but only became expedition as a measure to bring back larger chunk of money in circulation into the banking system.
He regretted that too much cash in circulation was outside the banking system, a development, he said was weakening the economy.
According to him, about N2.76 trillion out of N3.26 cash in circulation is outside the banking system.
He, therefore, pleaded with Aba traders and residents of Abia State, to beat the rush by going to the banks to deposit the old currencies ahead of the deadline.
Nwanisiobi, however, warned against rejecting the old Naira notes before the deadline, saying they remain valid legal tender until January 31.
He also warned against hoarding the new currency notes, assuring that the CBN has enough new Naira notes to take care of the demands.
On the guidelines concerning the distribution of the new currency notes, Nwanisiobi said it should not be picked over the counters in the bank but only via the Automatic Teller Machines ( ATM), warning that any bank dispensing it over the counter will be disciplined.
He explained that the new Naira notes had enhanced security features making it difficult to be faked, and urged people not to reject them.
Nwanisiobi, however, said that anyone caught abusing the new currency would be prosecuted.
He equally explained that part of the reasons for the new policy on currency was to encourage people to embrace other modes of payments in lieu of cash transactions as obtains in civilized societies.
He also said it was aimed at reducing the cost and risk of managing cash, and to withdraw mutilated currency notes in circulation.
The CBN Spokesperson who led other officials of the apex bank to monitor compliance in some banks in the state, noted with detest that some banks still dispensed old currencies in their ATMs.
It was also observed that in some banks only one or two ATMs dispensed the new currency notes, thus forcing customers to be on a long queue.
There was a mild drama in one of the old generation banks on the Aba Owerri Road near Ikot Ekpene junction, which upon the arrival of the CBN team hurriedly rushed into its ATM room to load the new currency notes.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Ariaria International Market, Aba, Elder Emeka Igara, appealed to CBN, to consider a special waiver for Aba traders such as allowing them to withdraw up to N100,000 of the new Naira notes over the counter to quicken the circulation process.
Branch Controller of CBN, Abia State, Mr Olaoba Ayotunde, urged Abia residents to take the directives on the new currency notes seriously.
He said that anyone who failed to comply with the information should not blame the apex bank for the consequences of ones flouting of the directives.