The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again warned members of the public, who abuse the naira, that the offence is punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both. In a statement issued yesterday by the acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the apex bank, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, titled, “CBN, Police others to prosecute abusers of Naira,” the regulator said it was collaborating with the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to ensure that abusers of the naira are prosecuted.
The banking watchdog emphasised that mishandling, defacing and hawking naira notes at social events were in violation of Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended). It said the fresh warning was necessitated by the activities of some people who flagrantly abuse the legal tender at social functions. The statement partly reads: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 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 he 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 an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both.
“Accordingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is collaborating with the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to address the unpatriotic practice. “We, therefore, warn Nigerians, particularly those at 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.”