A press release from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stating that the apex bank would convict any individual transacting with foreign currency has been circulating on the internet, particularly on X recently.
The press release was contained in an image and posted alongside a caption by Daniel Bwala via his X account @BwalaDaniel, amongst other X (formerly Twitter) users.
Bwala’s post on X read:
Thank you @cenbank for this directive. Imagine there is a Nigerian private university, operating in Nigerian market, owned by a Nigerian, collecting school fees and ancillaries in Dollars. Many other domestic companies transacting in Forex. We would soon get to root of why the naira is depreciating.
Also, the text on the image (press release) read:
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
THE USE OF FOREIGN CURRENCY AS A MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE IN NIGERIA
The attention of the Bank has been drawn to the increasing use of foreign currencies in the domestic economy as a medium of payment for goods and services by individuals and corporates.
It has also been observed that some institutions price their goods and services in foreign currencies and demand payments in foreign currencies rather than the domestic currency (the Naira), which is the legal tender in Nigeria.
For the avoidance of doubt, the attention of the general public is hereby drawn to the provisions of the CBN Act of 2007, which states inter-alia that “the currency notes issued by the Bank shall be legal tender in Nigeria…for the payment of any amount”.
Furthermore, the Act stipulates that any person(s) who contravenes this provision is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a prescribed fine or six months imprisonment.
This prohibition, however, is without prejudice to foreigners, visitors and tourists who are encouraged to continue to use their cards for payments or exchange their foreign currency for local currency at any of the authorized dealers’ outpost.
The general public is hereby advised to report any contravention of the provision of this Act to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for appropriate action.
Ibrahim Mu’azu Director, Corporate Communications.
Since the claim was posted on February 4, 2024, it has garnered over 159,000 views,more than 700 likes and over 400 comments.
Another X user, @DavidsOffor also posted the same image along a different caption thus:
See ehhh, I love the way CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso is acting while not talking!! Report any institution demanding Dollars for payment in Nigeria. I am loving this! Let’s have it
Leadership newspaper also reported the statement.
The press release was circulating due to unverified reports stating that the apex bank was seizing domiciliary accounts which it later debunked.
Recent CBN press release stating that it would convict any individual transacting with foreign currency circulates on X.
Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is MISLEADING!
A search on the CBN website showed that the press release was published on July 4, 2015 and not recently.
This also reflected on the designation of the Director of Corporate Communications stated in the press release. Ibrahim Muazu was the bank’s Director of Corporate Communication until 2016 when he was moved by the former governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele to the Strategy Management Department.
The current acting Director of Corporate Communication at the CBN is Hakama Sidi Ali who was appointed in December 2023.
A check on the X handle of the apex bank showed that the press release wasn’t re-shared recently.
Bwala’s post on X stating that the CBN would convict any individual transacting with foreign currency is MISLEADING; the statement has been in the public domain since 2015 and it is not recent.