CBN Director of Foreign Exchange Operations, Ahmed Umar, made it known in Abuja on Monday at the training session for state directors of the National Guidance Agency.

Umar said the CBN’s directive was to implement the January 31 deadline to withdraw the old naira notes from circulation.

“We want to use this training session to get the message across that CBN has enough tickets for the general public.

“We, the CBN management, have ordered the banks to stop putting old bills in their ATMs. They should only put the new bills.

“And there is a serialization of the policy that they can put in N500, N1000 or N200 notes whatever denomination they have or a combination of any of these notes, they just put the new notes in their machines.

“We are going to monitor to make sure that the banks comply and if they don’t, we have a penalty for non-compliance,” said the head of the main bank.

According to him, in many countries around the world it takes a few years to change the design of a banknote.

“In our own case, what we had was basically 20+ years of having the same note design.

“During that period, what he did for us was create a way for some people to master the act of counterfeiting.

“In our own case, what we have is the minimum of 17 years or older so that we can redesign our currency.

“If you look at the N1,000 note that was introduced in 2005, it took us 17 years to redesign it. The N500 and N200 banknotes were also redesigned after 21 years and 22 years respectively.

“So if the notes stay in the system too long, there is a tendency for counterfeiters to go to great lengths to produce the same notes.

“So that’s why it’s necessary to change our notes regularly.”

According to him, another reason for the redesign was that N500 and N1,000 make up 99 percent of the banknotes that are being counterfeited.

“It’s a simple logic, the effort you put in to counterfeit N1,000 is the same effort you put in to counterfeit N5.

“Then why would they waste their energy making small notes? They always aim for the highest grade, particularly N1,000 because of the value attached to it,” she said.

Earlier, NOA Director General Dr. Garba Abari said his agency has partnered with CBN to educate NOA staff members in all 774 local government areas, to help inform Nigerians about the redesign of the new ticket policy.

Abari expressed his hope that the training session will go a long way in addressing the misconceptions and misunderstandings around the new ticket policy.

He called on all participants to pay close attention to training to represent CBN well as they embark on grassroots-level enlightenment programs.