Between 2016 and 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) confiscated N365.24 million worth of counterfeit notes. The data was compiled from the CBN’s yearly reports, which are regularly published on its website.
In 2016, the CBN said that it had seized 77,576 counterfeit banknotes totaling N51.45 million. According to the 2018 report, phony notes worth N93.43 million and N98.82 million were confiscated in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The report read, “To maintain the integrity of the banknotes in circulation, the Department, in collaboration with DMBs, Bankers Warehouse Pls and security agencies, continued to intensify its efforts at mitigating the incidences of counterfeiting during the period under review. A total of 119,663 pieces of counterfeit notes with a nominal value of N98.82m was recorded in 2018. This indicated a decline of 1.30 per cent in volume terms and an increase of 5.77 per cent in value terms when compared with 118,126 pieces with a nominal value of N93.43m recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.”
The 2020 annual report showed that N64.71m counterfeit notes were seized in 2019 and N56.83m in 2020.
The report partly read, “To maintain the integrity of the banknotes in circulation, the Bank, in collaboration with Security Agencies, sustained efforts at combating counterfeiting activities in 2020. A total of 67,265 pieces of counterfeit notes with a nominal value of N56.83 million was recorded in 2020. This was 20.80 per cent in volume and 12.18 per cent value, lower than 84,934 pieces and N64.71 million in 2019.”
The bank has maintained that N1000 and N500 notes have been the most counterfeited over the years.
In a circular to banks in January 2019, the CBN threatened to fine banks for paying fake notes through their automated teller machines.
It warned that each bank would be fined N1m per branch if found guilty of this crime.