12 women have been arrested for selling new Naira notes to party goers at an event in Lagos. They were arrested during a raid by officials of CBN and operatives of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba. According to Govt officials, their action contravenes section 21 of the CBN Act, 2007 and is punishable by N50,000 fine, or six months imprisonment or both.
Six women were arrested the week before and another six this past weekend. Those arrested recently include; Fausat Jimoh, Bisoye Oyegbile, Balikis Ajadi, Bisola Amoru, Abidemi Oladejo and Ajoke Suraj.
According to Guardian, Bilikis Ajadi revealed that low patronage of her hair dressing business pushed her into the money trade. Bisoye Oyegbile claimed that N37,500 was collected from her alone, though the police claimed that N35,500 was recovered from all the women combined. She claimed that the law enforcers usually stole some of their money whenever they came after them.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of SCIID, Bolaji Salami, said that selling Naira notes is an offense and efforts are being made to bring those guilty to book.
“We are clamping down on those abusing our currency. It is an offence to sell naira notes at weddings or any gathering. It contravenes the CBN Act. We arrested six suspects the previous weekend and later arrested six others on Friday.
“We recovered N35,500 from these suspects but N465,000 was recovered from those arrested last week.
“They would be charged to court as soon as possible. Investigation would reveal how these suspects come about these new currencies. We are going to get to the root of it because the offence is punishable by N50,000 fine, or six months imprisonment or both.
“No good country would allow its currency to be abused in anyway. That is what we are guiding against. The CBN is out to enforce the law and we would give them the necessary backing.”
An official of the CBN, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said CBN was targeting its workers and Deposit Money Banks (DMB), as those fuelling the illegal trade. According to the official, CBN will clamp down on celebrants in venues where naira merchants are found.
“We know that these are not the real targets because if they don’t get the mint notes, they won’t be able to sell it. So, our main targets are commercial banks and even our staff who release the money to these vendors.
“Once these suspects confess and mention their names, we would go after them. We are also going to start arresting Nigerians who organise events and allow those selling naira notes in their venues. Already, we have started arresting people who ‘spray’ money at social events. Sanity must return to our system and our currency must be respected.”