By Mark Duru
Fake naira notes ranging from N200, #500 to #1,000 are in circulation, African Market Report (AMR) can authoritatively report.
The counterfeit notes according to our findings are daily being injected into the society by hoodlums who use them to buy goods from unsuspecting traders.
Aside from hoodlums, checks also showed that many banks and ATMs have also been issuing fake naira notes.
A business woman, Philippine Duru, told AMR how some hoodlums bought goods from her daughter and collected balance using fake N1,000 note.
“I left my daughter in the shop to attend to pressing issues. When I came, she handed over the money she had made to me. When I went to buy goods with the money, my attention was drawn to one of the #1000 notes as fake.
“I was shocked because I never imagined such could still be happening. It was a three fold loss to me. They brought fake money, took my goods and still collected balance. It is really disturbing. I ended up puncturing the note as it would not be morally right to spend it and transfer the burden to another person. They used to do this at night or when they see that you as a trader are very busy attending to many people.”
A Lagos based journalist, Clement Francis, also narrated how he received a fake N200 note without knowing.
According to him: “I went to market during the Yuletide season to get somethings for my family. In the process, I was given a number of N200 notes as balance for purchases but I never imagined that any of them could be fake. It was when I wanted to buy other things using #200 notes that I saw that one was looking very odd. When I brought it out, I saw that it was really fake.”
He said his suspicion that fake notes could be all over the town became rife when he observed that many bank tellers were collecting cash from customers without using mercury light to confirm if they are fake of not.
“When I asked one of the workers in a popular new generation bank, he simply smiled and continued with what he was doing.”
A trader who simply identified herself as Mama Emma, shared an experience of how her husband found a counterfeit N500 note among the notes he got from an ATM.
“He (my hubby) wasn’t aware of it until he gave the money to a bus conductor who rained abuses on him for spending giving him fake money. It was really embarrassing because he had to be explaining that he got the money from an ATM. If it was something that could cause him his life, that is how he would have been mobbed and beaten to death for no just cause.”
A businessman at multi purpose market in Igando area of Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos recounted how a bundle of money he collected from a commercial bank at Lagos Island had a fake note injected into it.
“Immediately the fake note was found where I wanted to use it to buy goods, I rushed back to the bank and confronted them. They quickly apologised and replaced the counterfeit with original note.
His neighbour in the market, also told of how she received a fake #1000 note. “Mine was in the afternoon. They bought goods and paid with some #1000 notes. I counted it and once it was complete, I kept it in my wallet. Few minutes later, I checked and found that one of the notes was fake. It is really sad.”
A source in the banking industry told AMR that some depraved bank workers collude with criminals to inject fake notes in bundles of naira notes.
“What they do is to add just #1000 in a bundle of #500, 000. By the time do this in 100 places everyday, you can imagine what they would have made daily.”
He suggested that a random check should be carried on people collecting money and packaging them and ” any bank found guilty should be severely dealt with.”