By Prof. Samaila Usman Dakyes

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, experts projected that the global GDP is expected to drop by 2.1%, while that of developing countries will drop by 2.5%. As at April, 2020, American unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, while UK Office of National Statistics reported that job loss claims rose by 856,500 to 2.097 million, in China there are 80 million job losses, in Japan job loss is put at 3 million, Eurostat reported that122 (7.3%) million Europeans lost their jobs while in Africa, African Union projects 20 million job losses. The after mart of all these can be devastating. Desperate business owners whose businesses collapsed and terrorists organisations may take advantage of the global economic pandemonium and engage in document forgery, counterfeit of products and banknotes to keep their businesses and operations afloat.

Governments around the world will have to contain with diverse political and economic problems some of which include; organizational bankruptcy, job loss, and increase in crime rate occasioned by months of total lockdown. Manufacturing, transport, tourism, sports; medium and small-scale industries will experience high level business decline, to say the least, some may not see the light of the day in post Covid 19 era.

Massive job loss will worsen the case of unemployment at a global level and in poor countries especially waring nations of the Middle East and Africa. It should be noted that some African countries insecurity is a more serious problem than the Novel Coronavirus itself. Experts are of the view that manufacturing industries will experience decline in production due to underutilisation of labour and capital this in not without attendant consequences. Arm insurgency in other parts of the world and African is alleged to have foreign backing, with the global economic recession setting in, support from sponsors may dwindle making  local and international terrorist organisations such as; Euskadi Ta-Askatasuna, Aum Shirikyo, Kahane Chai,  Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, An Sar-al- Sharia,  Liberation Tigers, Hisbul-Mujahid, ISIL Khorasan, Kongra-Gel,  Al-shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, An Sar-Dine,  Guma’a al-Islamiyya, AnSar AL-Shariya Bengazi, and others look inwards for finances to sustain their operations. Aside going on massive rampage to loot, (a likely option) they might fall back on banknote counterfeiting. Especially in African countries where literacy level is rather too low, our local markets will become “Counterfeit Malls” where fake banknotes are printed and sold. Three factors will make this easy; Africa’s low level visual literacy, readily available digitised printing equipment/software and the absence of counterfeit detection gadgets in local markets. Fake banknotes will easily pass for their originals thereby damaging the already battered economy and sustaining terrorism in Africa.

According to the National Document Fraud Department UK, the words forgery and counterfeit are synonymous in action and differ in meaning, Forgery has to do with illegal altering of genuine documents via changing of name, grade, years, rank, gender, numbers, amount, passport and or signature, while counterfeit on the other hand, has to do with the complete production of fake documents or products that cannot be easily distinguished from the original. It notes that aside banknotes other sensitive business paraphernalia that could possibly be counterfeited include; Pseudo documents, they usually belong to nowhere and have no legal basis because they are not issued by a legally recognised person or organisation, or existing authority, under the state or international law. In other words pseudo documents look like an official document, but it is not issued by an institution and as such has no legal validity but can be used to defraud business associates.

The illegal reproduction of sensitive financial instruments and Pseudo documents is made possible and easy with the advent of computer, direct imaging, and desktop publishing and computerised imaging gadgets that produce excellent colour counterfeit copies of originals easy and rampant. Today in Nigeria, counterfeiting and forgery of sensitive paper documents such as bank-notes, certificate of occupancy, cheque books, statements of result, cash receipt, identity cards, letterhead papers, driver’s license, school certificates, passports, drug labels/expiration dates, stock certificates and  postage stamps etcetera are on the rise. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 2009 notes that international trade in counterfeit and pirated products costs the world economy about 250 billion US Dollars annually. By extension, this trend puts over 2.5 million legitimate jobs at risk in the G20 countries alone. With the global recession, fraudsters from countries that have high prevalence of faking banknotes like Columbia, Japan, China, America and United Kingdom will produced fakes from abroad and shipped them into developing countries and Nigeria with high level corruption will be an easy target. Nigeria’s Apex Bank (CBN) reported in 2017 that in every one million naira, sixteen (16) pieces are fakes and that in 2018 eighteen pieces of banknotes in every one million are counterfeits. In the post Covid-19 era, the world will witness high Nigeria will witness in banknote counterfeiting  from eighteen pieces per million as reported in 2018, to fifty per million as many graphic designers and printers will lose their jobs and most survive and this will have a very devastating effect on the economy if drastic action is not taken.

Forgery and counterfeiting, is an aspect of fraud which has become almost a complete way of life for most people in the third world countries. Many Nigerians are seriously indicted of involvement in the menace. Examples abound of politicians forging to win elections, civil servants counterfeiting to mismanage public fund, students faking to get admission; lecturers forging for promotion, pharmacists produce substandard drugs, businessmen import pirated products, contractors also fake tax documents, etcetera.

Organized crime enhanced by forgery and counterfeiting of valuable document by fraudsters constitutes a major societal problem in Nigeria with attendant consequences such as; damage to all facets of Nigeria’s corporate existence, enormous loss of government revenue, undermining national development efforts, economic potential and political instability, erosion of efficiency, insecurity, arm insurgency and damage to national image.


In Post Covid-19 Era:

the world will witness high drop in GDP

Leading to decline in production as a result of underutilisation of labour and capital

High level of job loss which in turn will lead to unemployment

Increase in crime rate

Desperate business owners will resort to counterfeiting of banknotes and products

There will be drastic drop in the sponsorship of terrorist organisations globally

Banknote counterfeiting will raise by 10% in African countries

Boko Haram if not totally dismantled, may resort to banknote counterfeiting to sustain its operations as their sponsors might not be financially buoyant to invest on wasteful ventures.

CBN should intensify enlightenment campaign on manual fake banknote identification techniques to petty traders operating in local markets where fake banknotes flourish

Illegal importation of rag paper used for banknote printing will increase as fakers might get a bit sophisticate this time

Security spot light should be focussed on medium and small scale printers in Lagos, Ibadan, Onitsha, Abba, Kano, Abuja, Yola, Jos, Calabah, Ebonyi, and Akwa Ibom.



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