David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Police in Anambra State have arrested seven persons in Onitsha and environ for hawking and selling naira notes.
The state Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, who paraded the suspects before journalists said the suspects were engaging in an act that was illegal and punishable under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.
Umar said the suspects were arrested in a sting operation after officials of the CBN complained about the activities of the hawkers.
He said: â€œThe purpose of this briefing is to inform you on the arrest of some persons over illegal sale and hawking of mint naira notes.
â€œOn December 20, 2017, at about 1300hrs, the command in collaboration with the Department of State Security (DSS) and the CBN carried out a sting Operation aimed at forestalling illicit sale of mint naira notes.â€
He said the clamp down on the suspects was hinged on the CBN Act, section 20 and 21, in which Section 20 sub section 4, makes it an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment not less than five years for any person to falsify, make or counterfeit any bank notes or coin issued by the bank.
Umar who quoted the act said: â€œSection 21 sub section 1 makes it an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than six months or a fine not less than 50,000.00 or both for any person who hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the naira notes, coins or any other notes issued by the Bank.â€
The seven suspects were arrested at Ogbogwu and building materials market in Onitsha while two others who were also engaged in the sale were at large.
The arrested suspects were Clementina Uche, Emeka Iyida Wilfred, Anthony Onyebuchi, James Odumodu, Petercross Olabuche, Apeh Ekene and Valentine Ekwueme.
â‚¦4,304,550.00 were recovered from the suspects, most of which were new notes and others in small bills.
Umar said the command would charge them to court as soon as investigations were concluded.
The state police boss reminded the public that the acts of spraying naira notes at occasions, soiling and writing on it as well as squeezing the naira are forms of abuse to the currency.