Monday, May 01, 2006

The Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2006

Section 21, subsection 1-4 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2006:
"Any person who tampers with a coin or note issued by the Bank is guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50,000 or to both cash fine and imprisonment.”
This Act is introduced to the National assembly today by the Nigerian President, seeks to curtail the abuse, tampering, and counterfeiting of the country's currency, Naira. It also outlaws and criminalizes the “spraying of currencies” at any social gatherings.
“…The spraying of, dancing or marching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under subsection (1) of this section.”
Spraying is defined by the law as: “Adorning, decorating anything or any person or any part of any person or the person of another with naira notes or coins…It also explained "marching" to include spreading, scattering or littering of any surface with any naira notes or coins and stepping thereon.”

Also, "a coin or note shall be deemed to have been tampered with if the coin or note has been impaired, diminished or lightened otherwise than by fair wear and tear or has been defaced by stamping, engraving, mutilating, piercing, stapling, writing, tearing, soiling, squeezing or any other form of deliberate and willful abuse whether the coin or note has or has not been thereby diminished or lightened…”

Only those who have seen a 'mutilated' Naira would understand the rationale behind this bill. However, I find really amusing that 'squeezing', and 'writing and stamping' a Naira note is now an offence! I don’t really are about ‘spraying’ I’ve never supported in it.

From the tellers in the air-conditioned halls of the mega banks, to the roadside orange sellers and bus conductors; many will contravene this aspect of the law when it goes into effect.

Section 21, subsection 1-4 of the CBN Act is just another example of unenforceable laws, and I will be surprised if anyone is ever prosecuted for ‘spraying’ and ‘physically abusing’ the Naira as stipulated under this law.

It is interesting that that of all the numerous legislative fixes needed in Nigeria, this is one of those being pushed by the presidency.