‘Bankers have hoarded the new redesigned naira to sell to rich people’
‘POS Operators are hiding the new naira notes to sell at exorbitant amount to customers’
‘Some Nigerians are spraying the scarce new naira notes at parties illegally’
All of the above complaints have been a common statement all over the country, amidst issues of circulation of the newly redesigned naira notes. So, this article seeks to educate you on the Nigerian laws against hoarding of the Naira; Nigeria’s official currency.
Hoarding, tampering with or trading in Naira notes is regarded as a serious offense in Nigeria. The CBN is charged with the duty of maintaining the stability of the economy and ensuring the smooth circulation of currency in the country.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act of 2007 and the Nigerian Criminal Code Act defines hoarding as the intentional withholding of a significant amount of currency from circulation, with the purpose of causing scarcity and disrupting the normal functioning of the economy.
Under the CBN Act, hoarding of Naira is considered an illegal act and punishable by fines and imprisonment. Section 21 of the Act stipulates that any person found guilty of hoarding Naira shall be liable to a fine of NGN 50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both. Section 21 (4) of the CBN Act provides to the effect that it is a punishable offence for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.
Similarly, Section 21 (1) CBN Act defines tampering with the Naira as the willful abuse of a naira coin or note whereby it is impaired, diminished, defaced or lightened through stumping, engraving, mutilating, piercing, stapling, writing, tearing, soiling, squeezing or any other form of deliberate and willful abuse.
The Act further provides that a person who tampers with a coin or note issued by the Bank is guilty of an offence and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50,000 or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
In addition to the above, the law clarifies that, for the avoidance of doubt, spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under the law.
It is worth noting that “Spraying” of the Naira includes adorning, decorating or spraying anything or any person or any part of any person or the person of another with Naira notes or coins or sprinkling or sticking of the Naira notes or coins in a similar manner regardless of the amount, occasion or the intent.
It is worth noting in addition to the above legal provisions that the CBN also has the authority to seize any currency that is being hoarded and to take other necessary measures to ensure the circulation of currency in the economy. Also, the law against hoarding of Naira applies to both individuals and corporations, and applies equally to all forms of currency, including physical cash and electronic currency.
Note also that even though cases of naira hoarding are not often litigated in the courts, the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act of 2007 and the Nigerian Criminal Code Act, which prohibit hoarding of Naira, are enforceable by the Nigerian legal system, and those who engage in this act can be held accountable through the court system if necessary.
In conclusion, hoarding of or tampering with the Naira is a serious offense under Nigerian law and is strictly prohibited. Those who engage in this act are likely to face severe legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.