The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday warned Nigerians against abusing the naira notes.
The apex bank said anyone caught abusing the naira would be prosecuted and if convicted the person risked six months in jail or a fine of N50,000.
An official of the Currency Operation Department at the CBN headquarters, Mr. Samuel Shuaibu, disclosed this in Calabar, Cross River State capital, during the commencement of the ‘CBN Fair’, which was to sensitise residents of the state to the appropriate use of the naira.
The fair had the theme, ‘Promoting Financial Stability and Economic Development.’
Shuaibu said the abuse of the naira was not in line with the CBN’s policy, adding that offenders would henceforth be arrested and prosecuted.
According to him, the awareness programme was also aimed at sensitising the public on online transfer system, how to identify fake currency notes, how to approach the CBN for complaints, amongst others.
He lamented the fact that Nigerians accord more respect to the United States Dollar than the naira, saying Nigerians ought to appreciate and value the naira because it serves as a symbol of national identity.
Shuaibu said, “The naira has suffered abuse from majority of Nigerians. Today, we find some people spraying the naira at occasions, soiling it, writing on it, squeezing it while some are hawking it.
“The CBN spent a lot of money in the printing of these naira notes. We urge Nigerians to respect the naira and value it. Anyone caught abusing the naira will risk a jail term of six months or pay a fine of N50,000.”
He also urged Nigerians to desist from keeping money at home, adding that such money could be gutted by fire or carted away by criminals.
Also speaking, the bank’s Head of Development Financial Department, Mr. Chukwudum Nzelu, stated that the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the apex bank had led to an increase in the local production of rice from 30 to 70 per cent.
Nzelu added that the CBN was also designing other agricultural programmes that would engage thousands of the Nigerian youths in meaningful agricultural ventures that would make them self-reliant.
The Branch Controller of CBN in Calabar, Dr. Graham Kalio, urged the general public to always visit any CBN branch close to them for complaints.