CBN Denies Planning to Shut Down Financial Services for Elections

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has refuted a rumour making the rounds that it plans to make financial services unavailable from Thursday, February 23, 2023, to Monday, February 27, 2023.

There had been a message flying around that financial transactions would be disabled ahead of the presidential election on Saturday, February 25, 2023, to tackle vote-buying.

Last October, the apex bank announced a redesigning of the Naira in a bid to frustrate vote-buying, corruption, and kidnapping.

Nigerians were given till January 31, 2023, to swap their old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes for the redesigned banknotes. The deadline was later shifted to February 10 after calls from several quarters.

However, two days before the deadline, the governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara States ran to the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the policy.

The apex bank did not give a judgement on the matter but granted an interim injunction to suspend the policy by a week.

On February 15, the supreme court adjourned the case to February 22, and when the matter was heard today, it fixed March 3 for a verdict.

With few days to the poll and fund transfers becoming difficult due to pressure on mobile banking facilities, some Nigerians are beginning to believe that financial services may be shut down during the presidential election.

“CBN plans to shut down financial transactions from Thursday, February 23, to February 27; go and stock your home.

“Anyhow you can get money between today and tomorrow, get and keep it. Also, whatever transfer you want to do, do it between today and tomorrow.

“Information I am getting is that from Thursday, the bank network will go off till Sunday or Monday so that politicians will not be able to transfer money to anybody for votes. So, buy enough food at home. Do your transfers now because the next five days will be difficult. Please,” the message said.

But the central bank has described this information as fake news, stressing that it has no plan to do such.

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