•What the law says


From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

For years, Nigerian socialites and celebrities found joy in spraying crispy naira notes at parties, political and other social gatherings to flaunt wealth and class.

Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju, aka Bobrisky



Another trend is money bouquet, which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said is also a form of naira abuse.

Some have also turned the national currency to writing pads, defacing it with reckless abandon.

The flip side to this unexplained misconduct, experts noted, is that the respect accorded to national currencies gradually erodes the naira and almost turns it into a worthless piece of paper.

• Paschal Okechukwu, aka Cubana Chief Priest


Another sad consequence of naira abuse is that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) are forced to cough out billions of the country’s scarce foreign exchange to print naira more frequently overseas as the notes do not last long before becoming useless.

Recognising the importance of protecting the sanctity of the naira, the federal government has declared war on currency abusers to serve as a deterrent to potential culprits.

The crackdown is powered by section 21(3) of Nigeria’s CBN Act of 2007, which the serial abusers violate.

Such actions are deemed as defacement of Nigeria’s legal tender and have come under increasing scrutiny and disapproval.

According to the law, spraying money at events is completely prohibited, with penalties ranging from imprisonment to fines or a combination of both.

Just recently, Mr Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju, popularly  known as Bobrisky, a Nigerian social media personality and a cross dresser was apprehended by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for naira abuse and after prosecution, he bagged a six months jail term.

Still not done, the EFCC, barely a week later, also summoned Nigerian celebrity barman, Pascal Okechukwu, aka Cubana Chief Priest, for the same offence but he has secured a N10 million bail.

The socialite was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lagos, before Justice Kehinde Ogundare last Wednesday.

He pleaded not guilty to three counts of naira abuse filed against him by the anti-graft agency.

Since his arrest and trial, serial naira abusers and celebrities like Portable have publicly apologised to the EFCC for abusing the naira in the past.

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The EFCC has assured Nigerians that the war against naira abuse and graft generally was a relentless war aimed at reviving the Nigerian economy by ensuring that huge amounts of funds are neither looted nor defaced as they both destroy the integrity of the naira.

Tampering with currency is strictly regulated by the CBN. Here’s what the law says about currency manipulation:

1. Mutilation of Naira notes:

Mutilation refers to tampering with Naira notes, which constitutes an offense punishable by law under Section 21 of the CBN Act. The following actions are considered abuse of Naira notes:

Spraying: It is against the law to spray Naira banknotes at occasions.

Writing: Writing on banknotes is prohibited.

Stapling: Stapling banknotes is not allowed, as the pins can cause corrosion.

Tearing: Tearing banknotes is also an offense.

Soiling: Dancing or stamping on Naira banknotes is strictly prohibited.

– Any form of defacement of the currency is considered a form of ridicule on the nation.

– The prevalence of dirty banknotes in circulation is a potential health hazard to citizens¹.

Penalties for currency abusers: Anyone found abusing, defacing, or mutilating a Naira note is liable to:

Six months imprisonment or a fine of N50,000.

With the conviction of Bobrisky and the increased awareness of the legislation, many are now considering alternatives to the age-long tradition of money spraying.

Experts suggest the use of other gifts, vouchers and mobile money platforms to display affluence as against spraying new naira notes. Embracing digital transactions not only eliminates the risk of defacing naira notes during festivities but also offers convenience and efficiency.

With countless mobile banking apps, online payment platforms, and digital wallets readily available, transferring monetary gifts or contributing to event expenses has never been simpler. Whether it’s sending a gift to the celebrant or contributing for party costs, digital transactions provide a seamless solution.

After the arrest of Bobrisky, social media has been awash with heated debates as to why the anti-graft agencies arrested and prosecuted him as a lone culprit when naira is sprayed in more than half of social gatherings in different parts of Nigeria every weekend.

“In all honesty, there has always been a law against abusing the naira. I remember watching CBN sponsored adverts as a child, where it was said not to spray the naira, step on it, tear it etc with the penalty being jail time but it was never really implemented.

“Now, I’m surprised it is under the jurisdiction of the EFCC not the police or maybe it should be.

“Also, if EFCC was serious, half of the southwest would be in jail by now, because we love spraying money at parties” @oizao said on X.

@Express_Cheetah4664 said: “How can strip clubs be licensed? People are literally wiping their bumbums with naira at silver fox”.

@Dry_Instruction6502 said: “No one would be spraying it if it wasn’t worthless”.

@legendaryhustler, “it has always been illegal, it was just not enforced. It should be illegal in every country. It’s a symbol of a nation’s identity and should not be subjected to ignominy”.