Sunday, May 26, 2024

Naira Abuse: EFCC advised to also go after treasury looters

“We have been spraying money during social occasions for decades, and it is part of our culture,” said a financial expert.

• April 22, 2024
SPRAYING NAIRA AT PARTY
SPRAYING NAIRA AT PARTY[Credit: Dubawa]

A financial expert, Okechukwu Unegbu, has urged the Federal Government to dissipate more effort in arresting and prosecuting politicians accused of looting the treasury.

Mr Unegbu, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), gave the advice in an interview on Monday in Abuja.

He spoke against the backdrop of the recent arrest and prosecution of some Nigerians by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for abusing and mutilating the naira.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act 2007 criminalises abuse of the naira.

Section 21 of the Act listed spraying, dancing or stepping on the naira or any other notes issued by the CBN during social occasions as constituting an abuse and defacing of the currency.

The law provides that such acts are punishable by six months imprisonment, a fine of N50,000, or both.

According to Mr Unegbu, spraying money at social events has done less damage to the Nigerian economy than looting the treasury and other financial crimes politicians commit.

“The EFCC should also go after corrupt politicians that have been accused of looting the treasury and causing mass poverty. Bringing treasury looters and corrupt politicians to book will be more beneficial to the country than going after those spraying naira at parties.

“We have been spraying money during social occasions for decades, and it is part of our culture. People only need to be sensitised to the law that criminalises the act.

“And, there are issues to be decided. How are we sure that all the currencies they throw about are only naira? There may be other currencies. Are they fighting for other countries’ currencies?” he stated.

Mr Unegbu urged the authorities to sensitise Nigerians about handling the naira properly. He also urged the CBN to ensure that the naira is printed with quality materials like the dollar and other foreign currencies to enhance its durability.

“EFCC should be advising people who want to spray money; if they want to avoid abuse of the naira at the ceremony, hold a bag or a net so that people can throw the money in there instead of throwing it on the floor.

“People should also be encouraged to keep money in wallets. That way, the Naira notes will remain durable. The CBN should also ensure to print the naira to be of high quality like the dollar so that it can be durable,” he said.

(NAN)

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