Facts those selling Naira notes must not fail to remember
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
Like every new invention which comes with both challenges and opportunities, GbaramtuVoice observes with dissatisfaction that the latest directive by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about the deadline on old N200, N500, N1000 Naira notes have created ‘great’ business opportunities for some Nigerians as many now sell the new Naira notes to helpless and hapless Nigerians.
GbaramatuVoiceVoice findings reveals that while the new Naira notes are hardly issued to customers by the banks within Warri metropolis or adequately loaded in the banks Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for customers to access, the same new Naira notes denied residents of the city, is currently making many people rich as they trade on it unhindered.
In most cases, these vendors, it was alleged, carry out this illicit business on behalf of bank staff and other well connected Nigerians.
However, while this illicit business thrives, one point that those who indulge in these illegal transactions fail to remember is that there exist well established laws in the country that frown at such deals.
For instance, trading in Naira notes or coins is an act punishable under the CBN Act, 2007. Section 21 of the CBN Act titled, ‘Tampering with or Trading in Naira,’ prohibits anyone from selling or buying Naira notes or coins. According to Section 21, sub-section (4) of the Act, “It shall be an offence punishable under sub-section (1) for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank”.
In a related development, sub-section (1) provides that, “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 to both such fine and imprisonment.”
Like every Nigerian with critical interest, GbaramtuVoice recognizes that the essence of these provisions of the Act is to preserve the integrity of the Nigerian currency and protect it from abuse.
In fact, in Section 21, sub-section (3), the Act provides that, “For the avoidance of doubt, 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 be punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section.”
While the current challenge arising from the new directive on the old Naira notes by the CBN rages, GbaramatuVoice calls on Dr. Godwin Emefiele to expedite action towards resolving the present lacuna by making new Naira notes available. Also important in the present circumstance is for Nigerians to remain law abiding irrespective of the current harsh economic situation in the country.
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