The Legal Framework for the Protection and preservation of the Nigerian Currency (Naira & Kobo)

There is no country in world that does not have a legal tender (money). Merriam webster electronic dictionary defined money as: something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment.

In Nigeria, the name naira is simply a contraction of “Nigeria”, while the subdivision, kobo, is named by a derivation of the English “copper.” The Naira and kobo which is also the country’s identity, is regularly abused and this steer the need for its protection and preservation.The abuse on the Nigerian currency ranges from mutilation, spraying, matching, burning and inter alia.

In a bid to protect and preserve the Nigerian currency, certain legal frameworks has been erected, and one of those legal framework is the CBN Act. This work  shall discuss the extent the CBN Act seeks to protect and preserve the Nigerian currency.

Section 20(4), Provides: It shall be an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years for any person to falsify, make or counterfeit any bank note or coin issued by the Bank which is legal tender in Nigeria.

(5) A person who refuses to accept the Naira as a means of payment is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000 or 6 months imprisonment:
Provided that the Bank shall have powers to prescribe the circumstances and conditions under which other currencies may be used as medium of exchange in Nigeria.
Tampering 21

(1) A person who tampers with a coin or note With or trading in issued by the Bank is guilty of an offence and shall 
on notes and coins 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.
(2) 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 stumping, 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.
(3) 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 howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section.
(4) It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.

(5) In this section
(i) “Matching” includes spreading scattering or littering of any surface with any Naira notes or coins and stepping thereon, regardless of the value, volume, occasion or intent.
(ii) “Spraying” 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

Oringo Bamidele Gabriel
Director of Research, Roots Associates Chambers, University of Calabar

Emame Ani 
President/Head of Chambers, Roots Associates Chambers, University of calabar

For knowledge and Justice
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