Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Opinion: Imo State Deputy Governor; Naira Spraying And The CBN Act

Prince Eze Madumere

By Emperor Iwuala

Recently, the father of the Imo State Deputy Governor H.R.H Eze Henry Madumere was coroneted as the traditional ruler of Achi Mbieri in the Mbaitoli L.G.A. of Imo State. The occasion which was held at the monarch's Achi-Mbieri home town was well attended.

However, it was a very nauseating sight when the son of the celebrant who is the current Deputy Governor of Imo State Prince Eze Madumere (MFR), in an unreserved excitement, was seen spreading some naira notes on some women who were dancing at the occasion.

However, this act which is supposed to be a criminal offence would not have been noticed by many who did not attend the ceremony except for the publication of some of the photographs of the event in the print media which included a photograph where the Deputy Governor was spreading money on some women.

When I first saw the said picture where the national honoree was spreading some naira notes on the back page of 27th -28th May Edition of one of the owerri based newspaper, I could not believe my eyes. Consequently, I put a phone call to the person who is presently acting as the chief media assistant to the Deputy Governor Mr.Uche Onwuchekwa and he confirmed that he sent and sponsored the photograph to the media.

Interestingly, Section 21 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act 2007 provides as follows:

(1) A person who tampers with a coin or note issued by the Bank is guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be sentenced to 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.

Subsection (3) of the same act further provides that:

For the avoidance of doubt, spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued  by the Bank (CBN) 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.

Regrettably, the vigorous campaign by the CBN against subjecting the Naira to various abuses seems to have fallen like water off a ducks back across many areas in the country. The culture of spraying new naira notes at social ceremonies resulting to squeezing and trampling has remained a recurring scene at major events in the country. The abuse of the naira even by highly placed government officials in many locations in the country seems to justify public fear on the failure of the CBN campaign.

In spite of the warnings, the abuse of the Naira has never ceased. At social ceremonies, people are still seen spraying new Naira notes like unguided missiles on people.

In a recent ceremony I attended, many guests bluntly ignored the earlier plea by the organisers for cash envelopes to be dropped in a basket provided for the purpose. Rather, they took to the dancing floor armed with bundles of crisp notes, and as if in competition for the highest giver, left large volumes of crumpled notes on the dusty floor.

On a more serious note, if highly placed leaders in our society like a state Deputy Governor could jettison the law which he swore to uphold, I wonder the rationale behind the law against spreading of Nigerian currencies in public functions.
The irony is that I am yet to see one single person convicted on the above criminal provision which is more obeyed in violation.

Laws are meant to be obeyed. However, the Sociological School of jurisprudence advocates that obedience to laws is highly influenced by enactment of laws that are in line with culture of a particular place.

Therefore, it is my opinion that if the above section of the CBN Act is not being accepted and complied with, it should be repealed for laws are meant to be obeyed and not otherwise.

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