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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said it will establish mobile courts in partnership with law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, with the intention of combating the rising incidents of naira hawking and other forms of crimes against Nigeria’s legal tender.

The decision was reached yesterday in Lagos at the end of the Bankers’ Committee meeting, which was attended by CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi, and Mr Isaac Okorafor, Director of Corporate Communications at the CBN.

Some of the banking industry’s notable figures who were also present at the meeting include Mr Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank, Union Bank Plc’s Emeka Emuwa and Mrs Hamda Ambah of FSDH Merchant Bank.

Speaking during the meeting, Mrs Ambah stated that the Bankers’ Committee came up with the mobile court idea as a means to quickly prosecute and jail those found guilty naira hawking offenses.

“Specifically, one of the things that were found out and action is to be taken soon has to do with people who actually sell the currency; people who are selling the mint notes. In the very near future, there is going to be the introduction of mobile courts that would be on the spot to handle such situation; people who are selling the naira would be handled and dealt with on the spot.” -Ambah

She further disclosed that efforts are being made to sensitise the public on this issue, whilst educating them on the correct way to handle Nigeria’s legal tender.


Understanding naira hawking…

Naira hawking simply entails any illegal exchange of the naira. It is any black market activity whereby Nigeria’s currency is sold by anyone who is not authorised by the law to do so. This activity is commonplace in the country, especially at wedding parties where ‘money changers’ meander through crowds offering to change higher denominations to lower ones for a fee.

Earlier today, the apex bank tweeted a link to a comprehensive list of all the approved Bureaux De Change in Nigeria.

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Why the CBN is trying to curb naira hawking

According to CBN’s Corporate Communications Director, Mr Okorafor, it costs Nigeria a lot of money to print naira notes. Therefore, it is wrong for anyone to abuse it.

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He further stated that “the CBN Act 2007 outlaws any action by anybody, either by spraying, squeezing, by dancing upon the naira or writing on it.” Anyone found guilty of such crimes could face up to six months in prison.


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