The Central Bank of Nigeria has threatened to prosecute persons caught selling or defacing the naira.
This was according to a statement on Thursday by the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi.
In the statement, the CBN expressed concerns over the selling of the new notes, adding that it would work with security agencies to address the issue.
The statement read in part, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has observed, with grave concern, the activities of persons who sell the newly redesigned banknotes and those who flagrantly abuse the legal tender by hurling wads of Naira notes in the air and stamping on the currency at social functions.”
“We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever,” the bank said.
It noted that Section 21(3) of the CBN 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.”
It added that Section 21(4) states that “It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.”
The bank said it is partnering with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to address the issue of the sale and abuse of new notes in the country.