Six persons have been arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) for their alleged involvement in currency racketeering.
This was made known by the NSCDC Commandant, Rivers State Command, Michael Ogar, while parading the suspects and seized sums of money before newsmen in Port Harcourt.
According to the Commandant, NSCDC operatives collaborated with the Department of State Services and the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out the operation.
Ogar said the clampdown on the naira vendors is hinged on the CBN Act, sections 20 and 21 which makes it punishable for anyone or a group of people to hawk, sell, or trade in naira notes without authorization.
He said, “These are suspects that are involved in currency racketeering. What they have done is against the CBN Act 2007. Their activities contravene sections 20 and 21 of the CBN Act by selling naira to naira.
“You know if you go to the bank, you don’t get mints. So these people now go to the banks, they get mints, they come out and sell those mints. I want to appeal to the public to be aware that selling of the naira is prohibited by CBN Act 2007, sections 20 and 21.”
Ogar stated that it was against the law for operators of Point-of-Sale machines to use it as a cover to perpetrate illegality.
“Like when people gather naira and store them in millions. Those involved shall be prosecuted accordingly, PoS machines are legal, but it is being used as a cover.
“You know when you go to the bank, tell them you are doing PoS business, they now give you money, you now go and sell the money. If you are driving a car and you decide to hit your enemy. It is legal for you to drive a car, but it is illegal for you to hit anybody pretending that it is an accident.
“So, the fact that you have a PoS does not permit you to start selling the naira notes that you got from the bank. These monies were recovered from them,” he said.
The State NSCDC boss also said the act of spraying naira notes openly at events and writing on naira notes are punishable offences.
Ogar explained, “Also writing on the naira is against the Act. Mutilating the naira is also against the Act. Many people are not aware that spraying the naira during ceremonies is against the Act.
“These operations are ongoing. We shall continue to visit birthday parties, burial ceremonies, and weddings where we find people spraying money, they shall be arrested and charged to court according to the CBN Act.”