A bill seeking to provide for stiffer punishment for persons who abuse the Nigerian currency on Tuesday scaled second on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Mr. Uchechukwu Nnam-Obi (PDP, Rivers), seeks to address concerns about the increasing rate of abuse of Nigeria’s currency by the public.
According to the Rivers lawmaker, “the emerging amendment bill shall provide for stiffer penalties for the violation of the principal Act by substituting the sum of N1.00 with the sum of N200.00 in section 4 of the Act”.
While speaking to journalists after plenary, he explained that the Currency Offences Act is an enactment created to prohibit certain acts tending to deprecate the Nigerian currency.
That the integrity of our currency as national honour and heritage should be protected from being inundated and harassed by hawkers and abusers, he said.
Speaking further, he disclosed that it is a grievous crime to hawk the naira, a trade which seems to thrive in most parts of the country.
“It is a crime to hawk the naira and you see this abound in this country, in most cities in Nigeria. For instance, there’s a place called Dei Dei in Abuja, and some where in Lagos and other towns it is shameful.
“Even go to weddings ceremonies or or social events you see them selling crispy currencies as though it were commodity like pepper or onion.
“For enforcement we will charge our security agencies to do their bid to ensure that this menace is eradicated off our streets.”
He also blamed the society for encouraging the trade, saying “if nobody is buying, nobody will sell so we also call on our citizens of this great country not to patronize them”.