The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday warned Nigerians to desist from disrespecting the legal tender – the Naira – or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.
The bank particularly emphasised on 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.
The CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, in a statement made available to THISDAY, stressed 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 said contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is neither cultural nor moral, for people to disrespect the currency which citizens trade in.
He said,”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.”
Nwanisobi, further disclosed that the apex bank 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 and flagrantly abuse the local currency.
The bank 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.
“The Naira is our legal tender and symbol of national pride. Let us respect it and handle it with care,” the statement added.