. DMBs encourage hawking of notes
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has promised to prosecute any person or group of persons that abuse the Naira bills either by mutilation, hawking, writing on the notes or hurdling wads of notes at social functions.
The apex bank says it will invoke Section 21(3) of the CBN Act 2007 (As amended) on any one found guilty of any of these offences.
It said: “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.”
Although the banking industry regulator did not prescribe the amount of fine or duration of imprisonment, but it plans to collaborate with “the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to address the unpatriotic practice.”
However, this is not the first time the CBN is issuing such threats, as similar ones had been issued severally in 2018 and 2019, but did not deter abusers even at the risk of “six months imprisonment or pay a fine of N50,000.”
Nigerians, particularly those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings and funerals, should desist from disrespecting the Naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.
Hawking of currency
Meanwhile, deposit money banks (DMBs) have been blamed for the continued hawking of clean notes at social functions.
Banks, which have been warned to desist from issuing mutilated and tattered Naira across the counter or through automated teller machines (ATMs) under the CBN’s Clean Notes Policy of 2018, continue to indulge in such practices.
They rather prefer to issue such clean notes to hawkers of the currency at social functions.
The Ag. Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, said in a statement yesterday that sanctions against defaulters have become imperative following “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.”
Besides, it added that such practices are not only unpatriotic, but are also culturally and morally wrong for people to disrespect the currency.
“The Naira is our legal tender and symbol of national pride. Let us respect it and handle it with care,” he said, while warning 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.