Naira Abuse: Understanding the Law and Avoiding Penalties


Like the national flag, anthem and even the international passport, Nigeria’s Naira is more than just money – it’s a symbol of our nation’s pride.


However, many disrespect the Naira for inexplicable reasons by spraying it at events, writing on it, or tearing it outrightly.


These actions not only damage the bills but also violate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.


Getting caught with defaced Naira can lead to serious trouble, including jail time!


Justice Abimbola Awogboro’s recent sentencing of Idris Olarewaju, aka Bobrisky for naira abuse serves as a warning. The law applies to everyone, regardless of social status or knowledge of what the law stipulates.


Imagine getting locked up for spraying money at a party. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what happened to Bobrisky.


However information on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN website shows there are a handful of other offences that can constitute mishandling the Naira and are punishable crimes.


Not just spraying


Spraying Naira notes at events is illegal, though It might seem flashy, it can get one in trouble.


Also, writing or drawing on Naira notes is not only disrespectful but it is also against the law.


Another act that is considered illegal is the stapling of banknotes which damages them, instead, it is advisable to use paperclips or envelopes.


Tearing banknotes is another big no-no. the same way selling Naira notes is illegal. As a legal tender, one is expected to use the Naira to pay for goods and services, not to make a profit.


Basically, anything that damages or disrespects the Naira is an offense.


Enforcing the law


While Justice Abimbola Awogboro said the sentencing of Bobrisky, a controversial crossdresser, would be a deterrent to others who are found abusing and mutilating the naira, many have raised eyebrows on the perceived selective implementation of the law.


For instance, in 2020, PUNCH reported that the naira notes were mutilated at the wedding of Hanan Buhari, the daughter of former President Muhammadu Buhari.


Similarly, in 2020, Sahara Reporters revealed that wads of naira notes were abused at the wedding ceremony of Abdul Aziz Malami, the son of Nigeria’s Former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).


Two years after, Guardian Nigerian News reported that Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, an actress, was arrested by the EFCC for spraying and matching naira notes at an event. While those who abused the naira notes at Buhari and Malami‘s children’s weddings walked scot-free on account of their power and influence, Omoseyin was sentenced by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State.


Several other videos have popped up online showing highly-placed Nigerians brazenly abusing the Naira; a development that has seen some criticize the ‘selective’ judgement on Bobrisky


Bottom line


Mishandling the Naira has consequences beyond just the law. It costs the country money to replace damaged bills, slows down transactions, and weakens national pride. Dirty money can even be a health hazard!


It is expedient we all treat the Naira with care, keep it clean, don’t damage it, and use it responsibly.


As several financial analysts have posited, this is the right thing to do and will keep one out of trouble!


Credit: Green Press Nigeria


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