The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, has ordered the arrest and prosecution of persons selling or abusing naira notes.
This was contained in a statement issued by the police spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, on Friday.
Mr Baba directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Intelligence Bureau to place officers across the country on high alert to carry out the directive on the sale or abuse of the Naira notes.
The circulation of the new banknotes started on 15 December 2022 with the old notes scheduled to cease to be legal tender after 31 January.
However, despite the extension of the deadline by 10 days, Nigerians are finding it difficult to access even the old notes across the country.
The scarcity of the new notes has worsened cash transactions in local markets, as poor networks and other technical issues stifle online transactions.
According to Friday’s statement by the police spokesperson, Mr Baba’s directive is in furtherance of the federal government’s policy and drive to uphold the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007.
“The IGP has similarly charged all supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of Police Commands and Formations to carry out full enforcement of the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 which criminalizes amongst other things the hawking, selling or otherwise trading, spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira notes, falsifying or counterfeiting of bank notes, refusal to accept the Naira as a means of payment, tampering with the coin or note issued by the CBN,” the statement read.
“The Inspector-General of Police reiterated the mandate of the Nigeria Police Force to enforce all laws and regulations without any prejudice to the enabling Acts of other security agencies and urged all and sundry to cooperate with the Nigeria Police Force as it brings the long arm of the law to bear upon all violators of the provisions of the CBN Act, and other extant statutes in Nigeria, with a view to having a well-policed society in all ramifications within the country.”