The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians against selling, spraying and stamping on the naira, describing the acts as “unlawful”.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the apex bank said the warning was necessitated by the activities of persons who sell the new notes and those who abuse the currency by hurling wads of cash in the air at social functions.
On Wednesday, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) arrested a woman for selling new naira notes on social media.
‘It’s Unlawful’ — CBN To Prosecute Sellers, Abusers Of Naira
The CBN said there have also been reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes.
“We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever,” the statement signed by Osita Nwanisobi, CBN’s spokesperson, reads.
“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.
“Similarly, Section 21(4) states that “It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.”
The CBN said it would begin to prosecute abusers of the naira in collaboration with other regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
The agencies include the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
The apex bank warned Nigerians, particularly those at social functions, to desist from disrespecting the naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.
Source: The Cable