By Ndubuisi Francis
Abuja — The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again admonished Nigerians to treat the naira with utmost respect, noting that the national currency symbolises 'our national pride.'
The central bank also reminded Nigerians that Section 21 of the CBN Act 2007, which stipulates that the abuse of the naira through squeezing, staining, writing on, spraying and illegal sales, among others as punishable offences, is still in force.
CBN's Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Adamu, who made the appeal, said the naira is "a symbol of the nation's identity and pride," and deserved to be handled with respect.
Adamu spoke in Abuja at CBN's 2018 International Museum Day celebrations.
He said: "The naira as a symbol of our national pride should not be sprayed or stepped on, should not be squeezed, defaced or stained. The naira should not be sold or counterfeited."
On why the exhibition of Nigeria's past and present currencies in the bank's museum was desirable, Adamu pointed out that "the exhibition explores the naira in terms of its life cycle from conception to the end of its life otherwise known as the birth to death of bank notes."
Adamu added that the exhibition was an opportunity for Nigerians to know how the notes came about from conception to the final resting place or the end products "which are recycled products," adding that "all these activities are contained in the exhibition."
He argued that it was impossible to understand the role of museums without taking into account all the connections to culture, their inherent arts, their communities and their environment.
"Thanks to technology, Nigerian museums can now reach beyond their core audience and find new publics through hyper connectivity," he said, adding that hyper-connectivity "is a term coined in 2001 to describe the multiple means of communication such as we have today like face to face contact, instant messaging, telephone, etc."
He further added that in the hyper-connected world of today, museums have joined the trend.
According to him, the CBN houses a Currency Museum, which explains the evolution of money in Nigeria, from the pre-colonial era to the contemporary times.
Adamu said, "the CBN hopes that through the activities of the Currency Museum, members of the public would be better educated on how to properly handle the naira and other related matters."
In her remarks, the Deputy Director, Currency Operations, CBN Department, Mr. Vincent Wuranti who regretted the way and manner Nigerians handle the naira, said these actions affect its lifespan.
Wuranti noted that "a lot of thought was put into the design and production of the nation's currency, thus the need to have respect for the currency."
He reminded Nigerians that Section 21 of the CBN act of 2007, stipulates that the abuse of the Naira through such acts as squeezing, staining, writing on, spraying and illegal sales amongst others are punishable offences.
The Act, he said, clearly "states that the offender must pay nothing less than N50,000 or jail term of six months or both while Section 20 (4) of the CBN Act 2007 provides penalty of not less than five years jail term for counterfeiting the naira with no option of fine.