CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) officials have invited the nation’s security forces to help it enforce the ban on the spraying of naira which it has declared as illegal saying it an unpatriotic act of showing disrespect for country’s legal tender.
In 2018, CBN’s bankers committee introduced a fine of N50,000 as the punishment for spraying the naira at parties. However, the call for Nigerians to desist from the practise has been largely ignored and exasperated with the flagrant disregard of its directive the CBN has contacted several security agencies asking them to apprehend anyone spraying at parties and make them face the penalty of either going to jail for six months or get a fine of N50,000 after mobile court trial.
CBN acting director of corporate communications Osita Nwanisobi, pointed out that there had also been cases where people mishandled the naira, defaced as well as hawked the currency at parties while others rejected the currency in some instances. He added that mobile courts will now be deployed nationwide to try offenders on the spot.
According to Mr Nwanisobi, the CBN is collaborating with the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to address the unpatriotic and flagrantly abuse the local currency. He added that contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons who spray the naira, it is neither cultural nor moral for people to disrespect the currency which citizens trade in.
Mr Nwanisobi said: “For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 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. The naira is our legal tender and symbol of national pride, so let us respect it and handle it with care.”
He further cautioned Nigerians particularly those at social functions including birthdays, weddings and funerals, to desist from disrespecting the naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies. As an alternative, the CBN has advised Nigerians that if they want to give money to a celebrant at a function, they should put it in an envelope and hand it over to the person.