The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will go after people who are abusing the Nigerian naira in collaborations with other government agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
In a recent statement signed by the regulatory bank’s spokesman, Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN said the move was in line with the provisions of Section 21 (3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended). The bank said the decision to prosecute offenders was necessitated by the activities of some people who flagrantly abuse the local currency at social functions.
The ape said the mishandling, defacing and hawking of naira notes at social events are in violation of the provision of its extant law.
The statement added, “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has again been drawn to the activities of persons, who flagrantly abuse the legal tender by hurling wads of naira notes in the air and stamping on the currency at social functions. There have also been cases where people mishandle the naira, deface it, hawk the currency at parties and reject the currency in some instances.
“It should be stated that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is neither cultural nor moral for people to disrespect the currency which citizens trade in. For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended) stipulates that ‘spraying of, dancing or matching on the naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute abuse, and defacing of the naira or such note shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both.
“Accordingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria is collaborating with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to address the unpatriotic practice.”
The CBN, therefore, warned Nigerians, particularly those who attend social functions such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals, to desist from disrespecting the naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies. The naira is our legal tender and symbol of national pride. Let us respect it and handle it with care,” the bank stated.