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Explainer: How to spot a fake Naira note

The Central Bank of Nigeria has released details of the security features on the newly redesigned Naira notes to enable its fight against counterfeiting.

Explainer: How to spot a fake Naira note
The redesigned Naira notes

The newly redesigned Naira notes became legal tender on December 15, 2022. However, since its circulation commenced some traders have continued to reject these notes from customers citing issues like counterfeiting.

Recall that the "increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting" of the Naira was one of the reasons why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) redesigned the currency. "Indeed, recent development in photographic technology and advancements in printing devices have made counterfeiting relatively easier," Godwin Emefiele, CBN's governor, said while announcing the redesign.

To further solidify its efforts to ensure that counterfeits are not in circulation, the bank has released the details and position of the security features on the new notes.

According to a circular from the CBN, the security features on the redesigned Naira notes include:

  • Intaglio: This is when the image on the naira note is incised into a surface, and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink.
  • Portrait watermark: A watermark is a logo, piece of text, or signature superimposed onto a photograph. Watermarks are typically transparent, so those viewing the image can still admire it. The new naira notes’ watermark is in portrait form, as seen in the illustrations.
  • Optically Viable Ink (OVI): The light reflects off OVI security ink when viewed at an angle. The light makes the ink’s colour appear different compared to looking at it straight. In many use cases, OVI may be transparent when viewed directly but takes on colour when viewed at an angle. For instance, the OVI in the new naira notes changes from blue to green with a change in the view angle.
  • Kinegram: This is one of the easiest ways to identify counterfeit notes. It provides quality identification and security features for the new naira notes. The Kinegram is made of an image of the Nigerian Coat of Arms in the original new ₦1000 note.
  • Iridescent band: A symbol at the top of the new ₦1000 note changes when seen from different angles.
  • Engraved portrait: The picture of Nnamdi Azikiwe on the new ₦500 note is being carved into a surface. The portrait is painted or sketched on the right side to enable you to identify the original.

Pictorial representation of the security features on the new Naira notes

₦1000
₦500. Credit: CBN
₦200 Credit: CBN