By Joy Enamuna
Some residents of Benin have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to intensify its sensitisation against abuse of the Naira to allow for strict compliance.
CBN, during a recent sensitisation campaign in Abeokuta, decried the rate at which the Nigerian currency was being abused, especially while spraying it.
The Apex bank threatened that “abuse of the currency attracts a penalty of not less than six months imprisonment or a fine of not less than N50,000 or both.
However, some residents who spoke to our correspondent said enforcement of the CBN’s Naira Policy needed to be followed with massive sensitisation.
Mr Daniel Eromosele, a legal practitioner in Benin, said enforcement of the CBN’s action against those who abuse the currency note was a welcome development.
“Sections 20 and 21 of the Nigeria CBN Act, 2007, criminalised certain actions against currency notes and imposed punishment for them.
“A person who tampers with a coin or note issued by the bank is guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50, 000 or both.
“However, the Apex bank needs to create more awareness about this criminal law of spraying the Naira, especially in rural areas before carrying out enforcement of the law.
“The bank should partner with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to assist in sensitisation campaigns across the nooks and crannies of the country,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mrs Favour Williams, a journalist, said spraying of the Naira notes during parties had become a culture in the country that needed sustained campaigns to change people’s mindset.
“The Naira is a symbol of National unity and sovereignty and it should be respected.
“It has become a norm to spray money at parties in the country. When you attend a social event and you do not spray money, you will be classified as an enemy of the celebrant.
“My take is, if enough awareness has been created and people still go ahead to flout the order, enforcement should be carried out,’’ she said.
Mr Moses Osaro, a businessman urged the CBN to check the issuance of mints by commercial banks to members of the public while the public should embrace putting money in envelopes before presenting such to celebrants.
According to him, most people spray money during parties as a way of showing off, they want to intimidate people around and this should not be done in a decent society.
On his part, Mr Edwin Osaro, an educationist, said enforcement of the CBN’s Naira policy would serve as a deterrent to perpetrators and increase the revenue base of government.
“I buy the idea that people who abuse the Naira should be punished but they have to know the various ways the Naira is being abused.
“People should know that you should not deface the Naira by stumping, engraving, mutilating, piercing, stapling, writing, tearing, soiling or squeezing it,’’ Osaro said.