Social media posts in Nigeria revive old hoax video of non-existent 5,000 and 2,000 naira banknotes

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

An old video of bundles of cash has re-emerged on social media in Nigeria with claims that it shows new 5,000 and 2,000 naira notes. However, this is false: the Central Bank of Nigeria dismissed the claim when it first circulated in 2020 and there is no evidence that the notes have been introduced as legal tender since. 

“5000 Naira note and  2000 note Is out,” reads one of the posts on Facebook. It has been shared nearly 2,500 times since its publication on July 18, 2021.

Screenshot taken on July 19, 2021, showing the false Facebook post

In the clip, a woman’s voice claims that the notes were brought to a local bank while the camera pans over stacks of what appear to be Nigerian notes in 5,000 and 2,000 naira denominations.

“A customer came here today to deposit this money in my branch,” says the female narrator. “This is how the money looks like... Five thousand naira notes. He said it is 17 million naira and he claims he’s a mad man.”

The notes appear to be genuine at first glance, sharing common stylistic features on other denominations such as the name of the “Central Bank of Nigeria” and the same font to specify values in figures and words. 

The supposed 5,000-naira notes feature pictures of three prominent Nigerian female activists — Margaret Ekpo, Hajia Gambo Sawaba and Funmilayo Kuti.

Although the faces of the three women were originally meant to feature on new 5,000 naira banknotes proposed in 2012, the plan was halted by lawmakers.

Hoax video

Using social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, AFP Fact Check found that the footage has been circulating online, including this version on Facebook, since at least January 2020.

A closer look reveals that while the 2,000-naira notes have Nigeria’s flag and coat of arms, the 5,000-naira notes carry a website registered on the BlogSpot domain.

Screenshot of the currency, showing the website link

In reality, the notes are not genuine and Nigeria has neither issued 5,000 nor 2,000 naira banknotes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, which is the sole issuer of legal tender currency in Nigeria, dismissed the footage and pictures of the purported notes as “false and fake” in 2020.

“Videos and pictures of purported circulation of N2,000:00 and N5,000:00 banknotes are false and fake,” the CBN said in a tweet. “Members of the public are advised to disregard such falsehood and to report anyone found in possession of such banknotes to the law enforcement agencies.”

In addition, the notes are not among the denominations listed on the CBN’s website. In fact, the 1,000-naira banknotes introduced on October 12, 2005, remain Nigeria’s highest denomination as of July 20, 2021.

Screenshot of Nigeria’s banknotes ( CBN / )

 

AFP Fact Check has asked the bank for fresh comments and will update this report once it is received.