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Bank manager arrested in Abuja for stockpiling new Naira notes

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An Operations Manager of a commercial bank in Abuja Central Area was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday for allegedly hoarding the new banknotes.

According to a statement from EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity Wilson Uwujaren, as quoted by local media, the suspect was detained by commission agents for allegedly refusing to load the new notes in the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) despite having N29 million of the newly designed naira notes in the branch’s vaults.

As a result of the shortage of the new currency notes, reports claim that Nigerians were forced to spend the night in various bank ATMs located throughout the nation in order to withdraw the new banknotes needed to purchase food and other domestic goods.

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The CBN had repeatedly accused the executives of the commercial banks of hoarding the new currency notes, claiming that there should not be a shortage as long as the notes were distributed properly.

Before the operation manager was detained, the EFCC agents had ordered that all the ATMs be loaded and that the required amount be paid across the counter, much to the relief of the upset customers who had waited in line for hours without receiving the new notes.

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“This discovery, which points to a sabotage of the government’s monetary policy by some banks, was made by the EFCC in continuation of the ongoing surveillance and visit to banks across the country to access their vaults and determine whether they were purposefully refusing to dispense the redesigned Naira notes,” the statement reads.

The EFCC promised in the statement that “the operation will continue until normalcy is restored to the banking system.”

The anti-graft agency has meanwhile urged Nigerians who are having trouble accessing their money at any bank and who suspect wrongdoing to get in touch with the commission right away for immediate assistance.

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