The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is a crime to spray, sell or mutilate naira notes.
Speaking in Ibadan on Saturday, Priscilla Eleje, acting director, currency operations department at the apex bank, said the offence is punishable by six months imprisonment or N50,000 fine.
Eleje was represented at the public sensitization and enlightenment campaign on CBN direct intervention on lower denomination banknotes at Alesinloye market by Olufolake Ogundero, a deputy director at the bank.
“It is a criminal offence punishable by six months imprisonment or a fine of N50,000 or both to sell, spray or mutilate the banknotes,” she said.
“It is also a criminal offence which attracts five years imprisonment without an option of fine for anybody to counterfeit the naira. Naira is our pride as a country. So respect it.”
In May, the apex bank had told bank customers to reject bad naira notes because commercial banks are sabotaging its effort in replacing mutilated notes with new ones.
Isaac Okorafor, CBN’s spokesman, had said the bank was trying another option of withdrawing the unfit notes from circulations rather than depending on the commercial banks.
The bank is now engaging various market associations to encourage traders to change genuine dirty notes for new ones at no cost to the trader.
“The bank has already taken the new measure to Kano, Kaduna and Abuja and also intends to bring it to the south.”
Ogundero said the disbursement has commenced in Abuja and will be extended to Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Onitsha, Ibadan, Yola, Gombe, Katsina and Jos.