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Clean Notes Policy

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  • This policy was instituted by the Central Bank of Nigeria in a bid to improve the physical appearance and lifespan of the banknotes in circulation. The concept of Clean Note Policy requires that the production, issuance of new banknotes and recirculation by the DMBs/CPCs must conform to the predetermined standards. It also aims at ensuring that the quality of Naira banknotes in circulation must be in good condition to allow for processing and free acceptability by the general public.
  • The document displays features on the obverse and reverse of the banknotes. It also states the responsibilities for issuance, recirculation and processing, counterfeits and mutilated notes management as well as standards for banknotes processing machines.
  • The public awareness campaign on Naira abuse and handling are also highlighted to aid the longevity of the banknotes and reduce the huge cost of processing and banknote replacement.

The Banknote Fitness Standards provides the general public with clear, acceptable criteria for determining the quality of banknotes in circulation. It shows the stages of degradation by soiling, limpness and thus defines the acceptable threshold for fit notes in circulation. The fitness criteria include:

  • The durability and functionality of security features on the notes.
  • Banknotes structure and durability.
  • Banknote quality i.e. print and appearance of notes.

The Standard provides a pictorial classification of new banknotes, ATM-fit notes, Teller-fit notes and unfit notes to guide the currency handlers, users and key stakeholders to effectively manage the banknotes.

The Naira and the Law

  1. The CBN is responsible for the issuance of the Naira and kobo (Sections 17, 18 and 19).
  2. It is against the law for any individual or establishment outside the Central Bank of Nigeria, to print money or be in possession of counterfeit notes.
  3. If you are caught and convicted of a counterfeiting crime, you may face up to five (5) years imprisonment with no option of fine (Section 20).

Abuse of the Naira

  1. Spraying: It is against the law to spray the Naira banknotes at occasions.
  2. Writing: It is against the law to write on banknotes.
  3. Stapling: It is against the law to staple the banknotes as the pins can cause corrosion of the banknotes.
  4. Tearing: It is also against the law to tear the banknotes
  5. Soiling: It is against the law to dance/stamp on the Naira banknotes. Do not stain the banknotes with oil or ink, as this is also a form of defacing.
  6. Sale: It is against the law to sell currency banknotes.
  7. Mutilation: A person who tampers with the Naira note or coin is guilty of an offence, punishable by law (CBN Act Section 21).
  8. It is against the law to reject the Naira (Section 20 subsection 5).

Implications of Improper Handling of the Naira

  • Increase in currency management costs due to the high cost of banknotes replacement.
  • Defaced/torn banknotes slow down sorting process resulting in lower output of clean banknotes.
  • Erodes the sense of pride and confidence that Nigerians should feel in their currency.
  • Any form of defacement of the currency is a form of ridicule on the nation.
  • Prevalence of dirty banknotes in circulation is potential health hazard to the citizenry.

The Role of the CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria is responsible for the following:

  1. Carrying out public sensitization on proper handling and security features of the Naira banknotes.
  2. Promote and maintain public confidence in our currency.
  3. Ensure that deposit money banks (DMBs) do not recirculate dirty notes as this contributes to the prevalence of poor quality notes.
  4. Reinforce the campaign on the abuse/counterfeiting of the Naira as a criminal offence.
  5. Establish mutual beneficial partnerships between the Bank and the public as co-stakeholders in currency management issues; and ultimately, improve the quality and lifespan durability of banknotes in circulation by using pouches and wallets
  6. The Bank shall from time to time, organize seminars for representatives of financial institutions, various cash handlers, security personnel on the basic security features of the naira notes and how to handle the naira as a symbol of nationhood. As part of this effort, the Bank shall continue to provide and distribute educational and training materials for the public, police and other cash handlers.
  7. Provide digital information via tools such as instructional CD-ROMs to familiarize stakeholders with the basic security features to enable them distinguish notes from counterfeits.
  8. Enlighten the public and other cash users on proper handling of the naira banknotes.
  9. Promote and maintain public confidence in the legal tender currency.
  10. Encourage the usage of providing of coins by providing coin infrastructure as coins last 25 years in circulation.

The Role of the Nigeria Police Force

  1. Work with the CBN and other security agencies on combating counterfeiting and carry out sting operations.
  2. Arrest, investigate and prosecute counterfeiters.
  3. Develop counterfeit detection capability.

The Role of the Public

  1. Familiarise yourself with the security features on the banknotes.
  2. Do not accept nor give counterfeit money.
  3. Check your banknotes properly before accepting them.
  4. Report any suspicious banknote or financial transaction to the nearest CBN Branch or the Police.
  5. Reduce high volume cash transactions to the barest minimum.

What is Counterfeit Currency?

A counterfeit currency is an imitation of currency produced without legal sanction of the state or government. Producing or spending of counterfeit currency is a form of fraud or forgery.

How to detect Counterfeit Banknotes?

  • LOOK, FEEL and TILT the banknotes.
  • Compare the bill with another of the same denomination and series.
  • Look carefully at the printing quality.
  • Examine the serial numbering. Fake notes often carry the same serial numbers.

Lifespan of the Currency Banknote

The Central Bank of Nigeria produces both paper and polymer banknotes. The paper is made from a substrate which is a by-product of cotton called COMBER. The Polymer banknote is made from polypropylene pellets melted to a particular specification. Although, every country has its specifications, the polymer banknote is known to have a lifespan that is three to four times the lifespan of the paper banknote.

A Currency banknote shall be considered unfit for circulation when:

  1. It contains heavy creases which break the fibre of the paper and indicate that disintegration has begun. Provided, however, that mere creasing or wrinkling which has not broken nor weakened the note does not render the note unfit for circulation; or
  2. It is badly soiled/contaminated and/or with writings; or
  3. It presents a limp or rag-like appearance with ‘dog ears’.

A currency banknote shall be considered mutilated when it is partially or permanently damaged by fire, flood, soaked, dyed, torn or destroyed by insects and other natural disasters and is clearly more than one half of the size of the original note. It may or may not require special examination to determine its value.

  1. Torn parts of banknotes are joined together with adhesive tape in a manner which tries to preserve as nearly as possible the original design and size of the note; or
  2. The original size of the note has been reduced/lost through wear and tear or has been otherwise torn, damaged, defaced or perforated through action of insects, chemicals or other causes; or
  3. It is scorched or burnt to such an extent that although recognizable as such, it has become frail and brittle as to render further handling thereof impossible without disintegration or breaking; or
  4. It is split edgewise; or
  5. It has lost all the signatures inscribed thereon.

A currency coin shall be considered unfit for circulation when:

  1. It is bent or twisted out of shape or defaced, but its genuineness and/or denomination can still be readily and clearly determined/identified; or
  2. It has been considerably reduced in weight by natural abrasion/wear and tear.

A currency coin shall be considered mutilated when:

  1. It shows signs of filing, clipping or perforation; or
  2. It shows signs of having been burnt or has been so defaced, that its genuineness and/or denomination cannot be readily and clearly identified.

Currency banknotes and coins considered unfit for circulation shall not be re-circulated, but should be presented for exchange or deposited with any bank.

Currency banknotes and coins considered mutilated shall not be re-circulated nor deposited/exchanged, but may be presented or forwarded, for determination of their redemption/exchange value.

Mutilated banknotes and coins can be replaced by way of Adjudication. Applications for replacement should be submitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria through any of its branches where applicants would be guided on the procedure. Please note that all applications for replacement of mutilated banknotes shall be treated at the Bank’s discretion, in accordance to section 22(2) of the CBN Act 2007. The Bank shall determine whether it shall process and replace the application or not, and request for further documents from the applicants as it deems fit.

The Nigerian Cash Management Scheme

This initiative was aimed at modernising cash holding in Nigeria and paves a way for CBN’s gradual exit from the retail to wholesale end of the cash management value chain. It entails the re-ordering of the value chain with clear separation of wholesale cash services (CBN) and retail cash services (banking industry) supported by a single shared platform.

Consequently, the Bank had registered eight (8) companies to carry out cash-in-transit/sorting activities as shown below:





Bankers Warehouse

Bankers Warehouse


Integrated Cash Management Services

Integrated Cash Management Services (AIP)


Bemil Ltd



Alvac Ltd



Vanni International Ltd






Technocrime Ltd



Utobras Ltd


Currency in Circulation (₦ m)

N 3,965,101 - in 5/31/2024
N 3,922,947 - in 4/30/2024
N 3,869,330 - in 3/28/2024
N 3,693,573 - in 2/29/2024
N 3,650,500 - in 1/31/2024
N 3,653,259 - in 12/30/2023
N 3,347,716 - in 11/30/2023
N 2,997,756 - in 10/31/2023
N 2,761,291 - in 9/30/2023
N 2,660,138 - in 8/31/2023
N 2,595,761 - in 7/31/2023
N 2,603,266 - in 6/30/2023

The above figures the last 12 captured months figures and are in millions of Naira.

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