CLAIM: A facebook page recently published photos of trucks purportedly ladened with old naira notes and owned by the Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, in October 2022, announced the redesign of N200, N500, and N1000 denominations of the Naira and commenced mopping up of old notes immediately, by asking people to deposit them in commercial banks.
The CBN had given January 31st as the deadline for returning old notes. This led to frantic rush by Nigerians who complained that the new notes were scarce, and stirring an uproar from notable politicians as well as the National Assembly. They demanded that the deadline be extended. The CBN governor, Godswill Emefiele, after his earlier insistence on no extension of deadline, eventually obliged the request and announced February 10 and 17 as new deadlines for the use of the old notes and their return, respectively.
Notable politicians who had expressed opposition to the policy and demanded a longer extension of deadline, were mostly members of the ruling APC. They include Tinubu, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Senate President Ahmad Lawan,and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.
While announcing the extension of deadline, Emefiele gave an update on the recorded success of the redesign policy so far. He said the apex bank had collected N1.9 trillion in old notes and therefore reduced Naira notes in circulation out of the banking system to N900 billion.
“So far and since the commencement of this program, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion (N500b + N1.9trillion).
“We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system,” he reported.
The Facebook page published photos of trucks purportedly leaving Tinubu’s house and ladened with cash.
The photos were captioned thus: “Breaking News: 8 forty-fit (sic) container loads with cash captured leaving Tinubu Lagos house to Bank”
Ripples Nigeria conducted a reverse image search on each of the pictures and found that they were sourced from the internet.
One of the trucks appeared in an article published in 2014, while the second truck was first posted on the internet in 2020.
The photo of old naira notes also published alongside photos of the trucks, was also found to have appeared in a PUNCH report in November 2022, and the report had nothing to do with Tinubu.
There is no evidence that trucks of money were found leaving Tinubu’s house, nor his money seized by the authorities. The pictures attached to the fake post were sourced online.
By Oluwatobi Odeyinka
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