The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians against abusing naira notes, especially at social gatherings.
Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the apex bank, Osita Nwanisobi, gave the warning in a statement on Tuesday.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 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,” he said.
“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.”
The abuse of legal tender is common during social gatherings such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals where people spray naira notes to rejoice with celebrants.
This has now become a major source of concern for the nation’s financial regulator which says it will prosecute offenders in accordance with the law.
“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 stated.
According to him, the apex bank is collaborating with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to tackle the trend.
The CBN spokesman, therefore, warned Nigerians, especially those at social functions to desist from disrespecting the naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.
He described naira notes as Nigeria’s legal tender and symbol of national pride that must be respected and handled with care.