The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to arrest violators who spray, sell and mutilate naira notes as these acts are now criminal offences which attracts a five-year imprisonment.
Acting Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN, Priscilla Eleje, it became imperative “to preserve the pride of the country and ease difficulties being encountered by the traders and customers occasioned by the inadequate circulation of the lower denomination like two hundred, 100, 50, 20, 10 and five naira banknotes.
She expressed worry over the act, which she said is becoming common practice among Nigerians and warned that anyone caught would henceforth be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Eleje, who was represented by a Deputy Director at the bank, Olufolake Ogundero at the public sensitization and enlightenment campaign at Alesinloye market in Ibadan, Oyo state noted that the bank recognizes the important role markets play in economic transaction, hence the need for ease accessibility of the lower denominations to carry out economic transactions.
The apex bank assured marketers, merchants, shopping malls and supermarkets of the bank’s continuous injection of huge volumes of banknotes into the circulation
She said: “It is a criminal offence punishable by six months’ imprisonment or a fine of 50,000 naira or both to sell, spray or mutilate the banknotes. It is also a criminal offence which attracts five years’ imprisonment without an option of fine for anybody to counterfeit the naira. Naira is our pride as a country. So, respect it.”
Leader of the market women, Mrs. Labake Lawal assured the apex bank of the cooperation of her members, stressing that “we will comply strictly with the agreed guidelines and utilise the banknotes for the intended purpose”.