The Police in Ondo state in collaboration with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have arrested five men in the state over illicit and illegal sales of Nigerian currency (Naira) in the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Femi Joseph, who disclosed this to newsmen on Monday, said the men were arrested within the state last Friday after an operation, aimed at forestalling illicit sales of the country’s currency.
Joseph said the suspects who included women and men were arrested at various parts of the State during an operation carried out by officers of Ondo State Command and CBN officials.
According to him, a large sum of money consisting of various denominations was recovered from the suspects, saying investigations have commenced on the matter and the activities of the suspects, to ascertain the source of the new Naira notes.
He said “Men of the state Police command and the CBN will continue this clampdown on the perpetrators of this offence, which is punishable under the CBN Act 2007, to a jail term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50,000 or both.
“We assure you that the arrested persons would be charged to court as soon as the investigations into the matter are concluded.”
He disclosed that spraying of Naira notes at parties, soiling and writing on the nation’s currency, or hawking and buying has become a punishable offence under the nation’s law.
He said “for the avoidance of doubt, acts of spraying the naira notes at occasions, soiling and writing on it, squeezing it, as well as hawking and selling of the country’s currency notes, are abuses of the Naira and are punishable by the law.
“We want to use this opportunity to appeal to the public to desist from abusing the naira as it is one of the symbols of our national identity.”
Joseph, however, said the five suspects had been moved to Abuja.
The clampdown on the Naira vendors and sellers is hinged on the CBN’s Act, Section 20 and 21 that make it a punishable offence for any person to hawk, sale or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the bank.