The Police, working in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), have arrested 13 naira note sellers in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State in a sting operation that included officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Briefing the media on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Nnamdi Omoni said the sting operation, which was carried out in line with the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act (2007), was aimed at checking illicit sale of the Naira notes.
Section 20 (4) of the CBN Act (2007) makes it an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment not less than 5 years for any person to falsify, make or counterfeit any Bank note or coin issued by the Bank which is a legal tender in Nigeria while Section 21(1), makes it an offence punishable for any person to hawk, sell, or trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.
Continuing, the Mr. Omoni said the 13 suspects, all women, were arrested in different parts of Port-Harcourt and are currently being held at the State CID, helping the Police with its investigations. He added that those found culpable would be charged to court.
The Rivers State Police Command spokesman disclosed that the sum of N2,937,430 consisting of various denominations were recovered from the suspects. He stated that investigations had already commenced to ascertain the sources of the new Naira notes.
Mr. Omoni maintained that the operation would be a continuous exercise by the relevant Security Agencies with a view to clamping down on persons illegally trading in the nation’s legal tender, punishable under the extant CBN Act with a jail term of not less than six months or a fine of not less than N 50,000 or both.
“The acts of spraying the naira notes at occasions, soiling and writing on them, mutilation, squeezing, as well as hawking and selling the Naira notes, are forms of abuses of the Naira as such should be discouraged by all,” he explained.
Omoni therefore urged Nigerians to respect the Naira note in all ramifications as it remained one of the symbols of the country’s national identity.