12 naira note vendors have been arrested by the police in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for selling naira notes in some parties in Lagos State.
The vendors, all women, were apprehended at different parts of Lagos selling naira notes to party attendees as well as socialites. The suspects were nabbed during a raid by officials of the CBN and operatives of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti-Yaba.
They were alleged to be involved in the sale of new naira notes, an offence that contravenes Section 21 of the CBN Act, 2007. The identities of some suspects were given as; Fausat Jimoh, Bisoye Oyegbile, Balikis Ajadi, Bisola Amoru, Abidemi Oladejo and Ajoke Suraj.
Parading the suspects, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Bolaji Salami said six others were apprehended last weekend.“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 today (Friday), we have arrested six others.“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 a N50,000 fine or six months imprisonment, or both.“No good country would allow its currency to be abused in anyway. That’s what we are guarding against. The CBN is out to enforce the law and we would give them the necessary backings.”
An official of the CBN who refused to be named disclosed that the apex bank was targeting its workers and Deposit Money Banks (DMB), as those fueling the illicit trade. Besides going after the vendors, he stated that CBN would clampdown on celebrants in whose venue the naira merchants are found.
He said: “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 workers who release this 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 organize events and allow those selling naira notes at 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.”