Omodele Adigun

To curb the hawking and reckless abuse of the Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working with the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the Federal Ministry of Justice to set up mobile court that will try the Naira offenders on the spot.

This was  among the outcomes of the Bankers’ Committee meeting yesterday in Lagos  as the Director of Banking Supervision, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi, called for all hands to be on deck to reverse the slowdown in the nation’s economic growth.

Abdullahi , who addressed the media alongside Mr. Herbert Wigwe, the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc; Mr. Hamdah Amba of FSDH Merchant Bank; Mr Emeka Emuwa of Union Bank and Mr Isaac Okorafor, the Director of Corporate Communications of the apex bank,  stated that the Committee noted that the raise of interest rates by the US Federal Reserves Bank has caused capital outflow from emerging markets and the slowdown in the economies of most emerging markets which has also thrown some of them into recession.

He added: “ However, we noted this development and concluded that all hands should be on deck to ensure that the slowdown in the economic growth is reversed so that we don’t get into the same trap like South Africa.”
In her address, Mrs Amba disclosed that the Committee has come up with the idea of mobile court to try and jail those who hawk the mint Naira notes.

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She stated: “There is also the question of disseminating information to the public on financial inclusion  and to make sure that the public is aware that financed inclusion comes with responsibility.

“And we agreed that  we should  draw specific attention to the public regarding their responsibility in  handling  the currency; the Naira. And we are going to be disseminating information about the correct way to handle the Naira to ensure that people do no handle the money incorrectly.

“Specifically, one of the things that were found out  and action is to be taken  soon  has to do with people    who  actually sell the currency; people who are selling the mint notes. In the very near future, there is going to be introduction of mobile court that would be on the spot to handle such situation; people who are selling the Naira would be handled and dealt with on the spot. We want people to be aware now so that they would not run foul of this regulation.”

Okorafor, on his part, explained that it cost a lot of money to print the Naira notes. “And we also realized that the CBN Act 2007 outlaws any action by anybody, either by spraying, squeezing, by dancing upon the Naira or writing on it. That Act makes it an offence punishable by six-month imprisonment or a fine or both fine and imprisonment. The CBN is collaborating with the Nigeria Police, Ministry of Justice and the judiciary, and we will insist that those who abuse the Naira is punished”.

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