The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday distanced itself from any plot to seize customer deposits in domiciliary account, or amend the Foreign-Exchange Act to provide for the imprisonment of those who hold foreign currencies beyond 30 days.
The clarification followed media reports suggesting that the Federal Government and the CBN were planning to imprison those who hold foreign currencies, particularly the United States dollars, for more than 30 days. This, the reports had noted, is part of efforts to check increasing volatility in forex rate there strengthening the international value of the Naira.
The report was given credence by raids of forex traders in some major cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja, early this month for selling the green back above N400 each, as against the black market going rate of N460/$.
In a chat with journalists in Abuja, Isaac Okorafor, the CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, said such claims are false.
He also denied knowledge of the proposed clause recommending a jail term for as long as two years or a fine of 20 per cent of the amount for any holder of foreign exchange in cash.
“To the best of my knowledge, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not proposed any bill seeking to arrest and jail persons holding foreign exchange for more than 30 days,” Okorafor said.
Instead, he stressed the apex bank’s commitment to safeguarding the international value of the Naira.
The CBN spokesman also denied any plan to confiscate funds in domiciliary accounts of individuals, saying any such claim was false.