The Central Bank of Nigeria has disclosed that Nigerians abusing naira notes by spraying at social gatherings and other events including fun seekers at clubs and lounges across the country would be prosecuted and possibly serve jail terms for their offences.
It explained that abusers of naira notes by mutilating, defacing, squeezing and spraying would be prosecuted in collaboration with other regulatory bodies such as the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
The CBN acting Director, Corporate Communication, Osita Nwanisobi, said that the the move had become imperative to halt flagrant abuse of the legal tender by Nigerians at social functions among other places.
Through a statement on Tuesday, Nwanisobi reminded Nigerians that mishandling, defacing and hawking naira notes at social events are in violation of Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended)
According to him, 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 spokesperson, however, warned 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,” the statement added.