The State Of Naira

THE appalling state of Nigeria’s currency, the naira notes calls for a serious attention.

MOST of the naira notes are eyesores. The notes cannot be physically compared with other major currencies like, Dollars, Pound Sterling and Euros among others.

THE physical nature of the naira is an attestation to the nation’s weak economy. Many of the notes in circulation stinks, ragged and tattered to the point that they are rejected by many people. The status of the currency as legal tender is being threatened.

OLD, dirty, mutilated naira notes seem to be common everywhere, in the markets, motor parks and disappointingly, in most banks.

THE Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN is concerned. According to the bank’s spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, despite various moves to deal with the challenges, all are still not well with the naira. In plain terms, dirty naira notes are harbingers of diseases and possible death in instalments.

MUTILATED naira notes have constituted a problem to the country’s commerce and economy. Even some banks, cashiers complain that the notes get tangled in their machines. Apart from slowing down transaction, they refuse to accept the dirty notes from taxi drivers, ‘Okada’ men and market women.

THE dirty naira notes have become an embarrassment. Our naira notes testify to the moral decadence in the society where we have laws commonly disregarded.

IT is a shame that those saddled with the authority to rid our country of the dirty naira notes look on, the other way pretending that all is well.

THE highest denominations: N1000, N500 and N200 are perhaps the dirtiest. We hope these dirty, mutilated naira notes are not those sanctioned to be destroyed by the CBN, now still in circulation.

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ANOTHER expression of the country’s state of decadence is the open hawking of new naira notes along major roads and at parties across the country. It is becoming a phenomenon and considered the fastest means of making money from guests who are in need of new naira notes to spray at parties. This is fast becoming a norm while the authorities concerned look on without arresting the situation. More befuddling is that the hawkers have the effrontery to trade the country’s notes openly without being arrested. The hawkers have devised another means of hawking using Point of Sales Machine (POS) at designated points to attract their customers. Once you are not a known face they can trust, they won’t attend to you.

SECTION 21(1) of the CBN Act 2007 makes hawking, selling and abuse of the naira a punishable offence. The apex bank has repeatedly declared war against naira abuse like spraying it at parties with the security agencies arresting hawkers at various times. But all these have not been able to checkmate the menace.

THEREFORE we call on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency order the Central Bank to immediately commence the withdrawal of the dirty naira notes in circulation and replace them with new ones. The present influx of old, mutilated, stinking and condemned naira notes should be investigated. It might be those notes meant to be destroyed by the bank staff are cornered and brought into circulation.

THE Central Bank of Nigeria and banks in the country should monitor their staff, all those involve in dirty deals and have compromised the law should be fished out and prosecuted.

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ALSO, the apex bank should enlighten the public about the danger in patronising the roadside hawkers of the new notes. Their new notes may be a ploy to lure them to a secret place to rob them of their money and lives.

NIGERIA Police, State Security Service should investigate arrest and prosecute any bank official or any person involved in the act. Section 21(4) of the CBN Act 2007 stipulates punishment for anyone found hawking, selling or trading in naira notes, coins or any note issue by the CBN.

THEY should also compel banks to make new naira notes available to Nigerians.

IT should also find out the currency merchants in banks, apprehend them and prosecute them to serve as deterrent to others.

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