An Overview Of The Enforcement Challenges In Combating Naira Abuse



“Naira abuse” typically refers to the improper handling, mutilation, or defacement of the Nigerian currency, the Naira. This can include actions such as tearing, writing on, or otherwise damaging the currency, as well as using it for purposes other than its intended legal tender functions. Naira abuse is considered a violation of the law and can result in penalties or fines.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is responsible for enforcing regulations to prevent the abuse of the Naira and maintain the integrity of the currency.

Section 21(1) of the CBN Act (2007)  provides that “ A person who tampers with a coin or note issued by the Bank is guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than Fifty Thousand Naira ( =N= 50, 000) or to both such fine and imprisonment”[1]

Section 21(2) of the Act provides that “A coin or note shall be deemed to have been tampered with if the coin or note has been impaired, diminished or lightened otherwise than by fair wear and tear or has been defaced by stumping, engraving, mutilating, piercing, stapling, writing, tearing, soiling, squeezing or any other form of deliberate and willful abuse whether the coin or note has or has been thereby diminished or lightened”[2]

Section 21(2) of the Act provides that “For the avoidance of doubt, spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira…”[3]

High-Profile Examples

Bobrisky’s case:

On the 24th of March, 2024, a controversial, popular social media personality with over five million followers on Instagram – Okuneye Idris aka Bobrisky sprayed  (a common practice where guests at celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, and other significant social gatherings throw or spray physical cash on celebrants as a form of gift and public display of affluence and support.)Naira banknotes at a public event.[4] Videos of the “spraying” at this event were circulated widely on social media. He faced legal consequences for his actions related to Naira abuse.[5]

Bobrisky pleaded guilty to four counts of abusing the currency. His offense involved “spraying” banknotes at various social events. However, this seemingly harmless act has legal implications, as the notes can fall to the ground and be trodden upon. [6]

Cubana Chief Priest’s Case:

On the 13th  of February, 2024, popular socialite, Pascal Okechukwu alias Cubana Chief Priest during a social event tampered with funds in the denomination of N500 notes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria at a social event by spraying same for two hours and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, 2007.[7]

The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Pascal Okechukwu before the Federal High Court, Lagos on the 17th of April, 2024 on a three-count charge for allegedly spraying and tampering with the naira at a social event, contrary to the provisions of the Central Bank Act of 2007[8]


Combating the abuse of the Naira requires strong enforcement measures and collaboration among various stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, financial institutions, and the public. However, several challenges hinder effective enforcement.

  • Lack of Awareness: Many Nigerians are unaware of the laws and regulations governing the use and protection of the Naira. Limited awareness leads to complacency and a lack of vigilance in preventing Naira abuse.
  • Inadequate Resources: Law enforcement agencies tasked with combating Naira abuse often face resource constraints, including insufficient funding, personnel, and technological infrastructure. These limitations hamper their ability to investigate and prosecute offenders effectively.
  • Informal Economy: Abuse of the Naira is common in the informal economy where cash transactions and regulatory oversight are limited. Addressing this issue requires targeted interventions and community engagement.
  • Corruption and Complicity: Corruption within law enforcement agencies and cooperation with perpetrators undermine efforts to combat Naira abuse.
  • Jurisdictional Issues: Jurisdictional issues often make it challenging to enforce Naira abuse laws, especially in cases of cross-border counterfeiting or currency smuggling. Coordination between national and international authorities is essential to effectively address these transnational crimes.[9]


To overcome these challenges and enhance enforcement efforts against Naira abuse, several strategies can be employed:

  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Educating the public about the importance of preserving the integrity of the Naira through targeted awareness campaigns can foster a culture of respect for the currency. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should collaborate with media outlets, schools, and community leaders to sensitize the public.[10]
  • Training and Capacity Building: Investing in specialized training programs and capacity-building initiatives is crucial for enhancing the expertise of law enforcement personnel involved in combating Naira abuse. The EFCC can play a vital role in providing training and technical assistance to partner agencies, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to address emerging threats effectively.
  • Collaboration with law Enforcement Agencies:Foster greater collaboration among law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and regulatory bodies to share intelligence, coordinate enforcement actions, and exchange best practices. While the EFCC primarily focuses on combating financial crimes, its collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is essential in addressing Naira abuse.
  • Joint Operations: Adequate funding and logistical support are essential for coordinating large-scale operations involving multiple agencies to dismantle criminal networks engaged in currency counterfeiting, smuggling, and illicit trading.
  • Strengthening Legal Frameworks: Reviewing and updating existing laws and regulations related to currency protection and enforcement can provide authorities with clearer guidelines and enhanced legal tools to combat Naira abuse effectively.
  • International Cooperation: Enhance cooperation with international counterparts to address cross-border aspects of Naira abuse, including counterfeiting and currency smuggling.

Combating Naira abuse requires a multifaceted approach. Law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and the public must work together to raise awareness, enhance legal provisions, and ensure consistent enforcement. Preserving the integrity of the Naira is not only a legal obligation but also a collective responsibility for a stable and prosperous Nigeria.

[1] Section 21(1) of the CBN ACT (2007) Accessed 19/04/2024

[2] Section 21(2) of the CBN ACT (2007) Accessed 19/04/2024

3 Section 21(3) of the CBN ACT (2007) Accessed 19/04/2024


[4] Oghenovo Egodo-Michael & Mr Onazure Dania (6th April, 2024) “Court Sentences Bobrisky April 9, Convict returns to EFCC custody” PUNCH Court sentences Bobrisky April 9, convict returns to EFCC custody ( Accessed 19/04/2024

[5] Adesola Ikulaloju (5th April, 2024) “Bobrisky: Nigerian Internet Personality pleads guilty to abuse of Naira” BBC NEWS Bobrisky: Nigerian internet personality pleads guilty to abuse of Naira ( Accessed 19/04/2024

[6] Ibid.

[7] PRESS RELEASE “Cubana Chief Priest Naira Abuse Trial: Davido, Obi Cubana, Show Support” THIS DAY Accessed on 6/05/2024

[8] Shola Soyele (16th April, 2024) “EFCC To Arraign Cubana Chief Priest On Wednesday For Abuse Of Naira” Accessed on 6/05/2024

[9]Strategies for Combating Counterfeiting and Currency Smuggling,” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 2020.

[10] Adeolu Adeyemo (17th April, 2024) “Naira Abuse: Sensitize Nigerians before enforcement actions, Oluwo tells EFCC” NIGERIAN TRIBUNE Accessed 19/04/2024