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[OPINION]: Journey to end defacing of the naira - Olutayo Irantiola

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We woke up to the news that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given a verdict that mobile courts will start to sentence people to jail for hawking and spraying naira notes at ceremonies among others. This has become a cliché in the society and the CBN has been a toothless bulldog on the same discourse which has lingered for too long.

Nigerians are globally known to be celebratory. If we consider the amount of money that is expended weekly on parties, one would know that those hawking naira notes have come into the ecosystem of making parties glamorous. Interestingly, party-loving Nigerians patronise these naira note hawkers gladly because they have filled the void of not having access to new naira notes so as to use in showing off at parties. This act became a norm after a while. The first question is how these hawkers come across the new naira notes. There is more than meets the eye.

The despicable act of spraying naira notes has finally left the shores of Nigeria with Nigerians in the diaspora doing same. There are many online videos showing Nigerians spraying currency notes at various events in other continents of the globe. This presupposes that a terrible Nigerian culture has found expression in other climes.

This verdict by the Central Bank of Nigeria would attract the wrath of members of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) because the much anticipated part of a party is the time wherein money is sprayed on a musician for rendering one’s eulogy and that of one’s lineage.

If hawkers are prosecuted because they usually transact such illegality, how would they track those at parties who engage in the dastardly act in this era when security men are deployed around the event centers? Would the CBN detectives be on the lookout for videos posted online in order to arrest the culprits? What happens if those involved are the big wigs of society? There are many more questions to ask.

The journey to correcting the attitudinal, behavioral and cultural trend in the handling of our naira notes starts from awareness before we get to the stage of enforcement. As a country, we need to learn how to correct ourselves using various methods. There is a need to engage all the various stakeholders including Nollywood and deploy lots of other communication tactics to ensure that the message reaches all Nigerians. The end might not come in this generation but if the work starts now, we would surely overcome this trend.

 

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