The Nigeria Police Force and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have disclosed that they would embark on nationwide arrest of whoever defaces the Naira.

The CBN lamented that there is an increase in the rate of abuse of the Naira which contravenes Section 20 and 21 of the CBN Act.

Section 20 and 21 of the CBN Act stated that whoever sells, buys, sprays and squeezes the Naira would  be imprisoned for six months or given an option of N50,000 fine or both.

This was disclosed in Abuja by the Commissioner of Police in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), CP Muhammad Mustafa during a joint briefing with senior directors of the CBN.

Already, the police have arrested two members of staff of the CBN and two others who were caught in the act of defacing the Naira.

Those arrested are; Iliyasu Musa, Awua Felix, Mercy Otuma and Abdulwahab Kusa.

The CP said: “The CBN Enforcement Committee on the abuse of the Naira in collaboration with the FCT Police Command carried out a raid at Dei-Dei, Jabi and other locations within the FCT which were used for illegal trading and hawking of Nigerian currency, an act contrary to Section 20 and 21 of the CBN Act, 2007.

Explaining why they embarked on the raid, the CP said it is part of the effort of the Committee to enforce provisions of sections of the CBN Act, 2007.

He said: “The offence of selling, buying, spraying and squeezing of the Naira attracts six months imprisonment or an option of N50,000 fine or both as penalty upon conviction.”

The police said it recovered the sum of N1,713,200 during the raid.

The CP also said that the suspects and exhibits have been transferred to the Command Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation adding that the suspects would  be charged to court on completion of investigation.

Also speaking, the Ag. Director on Corporate Communication, Isaac Okorafor said:

“This is just the very first this year. The efforts are going to continue just to let Nigerians know that it is an offence and abuse of our national sovereignty to squeeze, hawk, spray, dance or write on the Naira. It is an offence and we are pleading to Nigerians that they should try to respect the Naira because it costs a lot of money to print and it is also an insult on our nation.

The operation would also go to wedding halls and do not be surprised when couples will be arraigned. We will also extend it to other banks in the country because this is a battle we must win”.